Where would we be without Star Trek?

One of the most exciting things about being a Human Being is the way we can use our imagination to manipulate the future.  The original Star Trek series is noted for its influence on the world outside of science fiction. It has fired the imagination of many a scientist and designer. Remember how Captain Kirk would simply ask his computer a question and it would come back with an answer – well we are getting closer to that every day with our Star Trek inspired smart phones and Siri and her equivalents.

By using the vast amount of data collected by Google and Bing, Artificial Intelligence in computers is finally coming to maturity and computer understanding of human speech is forever getting better.

But the prize for me in Star Trek was always “the Warp Drive” which allowed the Star Ships to travel faster than light.  Well thank you Star Trek for firing our imagination because Dr Harold “Sonny” White of NASA is now working on creating a Warp Drive using a Quantum Vacuum Plasma Thruster (see the NASA Paper here). The recent breakthrough has come from recalculating the size the amount of negative energy required to power such as drive. This means that a space ship the size of Jupiter is no longer needed, but now a 10 metre craft the shape of rugby (American) football, surrounded by a toroidal ring of exotic matter is calculated to be capable of speeds of 10 times the speed of light.  That means visiting neighbouring stars in weeks instead of thousands of years with current technologies.

Never mind visiting Mars, who wishes to visit the Stars?