The space shuttles are down for the count. Russia’s space program has an alarmingly poor success rate; China’s not doing great, and private companies such as SpaceX are still proving themselves.
Newt Gingrich’s failed presidential aspirations mean we won’t be seeing a moon base anytime soon, and a manned journey to Mars may never happen.
So what is the future of space flight?
One guy, at least, thinks it’s the Starship Enterprise.
He calls himself “BTE-Dan,” and he proposes that we devote our resources to completing a fully functional version of the space ship made famous by “Star Trek.” The job could be done in 20 years, he calculates, and the ship could reach Mars within 90 days of completion.
The disk portion of the space ship would rotate to create artificial gravity. It’d have two nuclear engines providing the electricity to power three ion propulsion drives, as well as a hole-patching system, crew quarters and a host of other features.
But why the Enterprise?
The whole country, if not the whole world, would back a venture to make such a vital part of pop culture a reality, BTE-Dan thinks. Space travel would regain the luster of its glory days, when astronauts were national heroes.
“We need a far grander vision of what we should be doing to get humans up into space,” he told theverge.com. “If we are going to ask taxpayers to pay billions of dollars for projects to put Americans into space, it should be for an idea that they can relate to and be inspired by.”
BTE-Dan isn’t an expert, but he thinks the task could be accomplished using existing technologies. He’s posted his schematics and ideas on a website called www.buildtheenterprise.com. Good luck logging onto it, though. In the short time it’s been up, his site has been overwhelmed by visitors. Last Tuesday, the site logged 100 visitors; by the weekend, it was up to 42,000. He had to purchase his own server and hopes to have it up and running soon.