Star Trek! Need I Say More?

I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it.

I’ve grown up on a stead diet of Star Trek—from the days when Mom confided to my preteen self that she married Dad because he reminded her of Mr. Spock, to just this week when I was talking to a coworker and found out I was not the only person in the universe who actually liked Voyager.

[watch me duck to avoid being pummeled by virtual tomatoes …]

So you can imagine my joy when I was given the green light to guest blog for National Geographic magazine about the science of the starship Enterprise.
—Copyright 2009 by PARAMOUNT PICTURES CORPORATION. All Rights Reserved.

Hopefully this will make up in some small part for my disappearing act over the past few weeks—it’s been something of a whirlwind, but that’s no excuse for being a delinquent blogger.

Having now seen the new film, I can say I was not disappointed, mostly because the acting was so genuine. They really captured those characters without turning it into a parody—Karl Urban is my new hero. Despite Bakula’s best efforts, I’d say the franchise is still alive and kicking.

As a bonus, one of the questions I asked for the magazine’s blog that didn’t make it in was whether they had any science consultants other than Cassini’s Carolyn Porco, who famously provided design help with their planetary scenes. Production designer Scott Chambliss told me in reply:
We did quite a lot of research with the NASA and JPL crowd. They told us that they watched Star Trek, and aspired to create in the real world what the Trek world did. Go figure!

When you think about it, there’s a host of things in modern society that mirror Trek tech:

  • flip phones = Starfleet communicators
  • PDAs = PADDs (those nifty hand-held screens officers use to read reports)
  • Bluetooth headsets = Uhura’s earpiece

And even more Trek-inspired gadgets are “on the way,” if scientists have their way about it—cloaking devices, hyposprays, tricorders, universal translators, even nanoprobes.

So, it’s been a long day, and I’m beat … Can someone please get on those transporter beams? Thanks.

Human Journey