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"Science fiction: Boldly going for 50 years" Topic

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©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0113 Sep 2017 9:12 p.m. PST

"Half a century ago, in September 1966, the first episode of Star Trek aired on the US television network NBC. NASA was still three years short of landing people on the Moon, yet the innovative series was soon zipping viewers light years beyond the Solar System every week. After a few hiccups it gained cult status, along with the inimitable crew of the starship USS Enterprise, led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner). It went into syndication and spawned 6 television series up to 2005; there are now also 13 feature films, with Star Trek Beyond debuting in July this year.

Part of Star Trek's enduring magic is its winning mix of twenty-third-century technology and the recognizable diversity and complexity enshrined in the beings human and otherwise created by the show's originator Gene Roddenberry and his writers. As Roddenberry put it, "We stress humanity." The series wore its ethics on its sleeve at a time when the Vietnam War was raging and anti-war protests were proliferating, along with racial tensions that culminated in major US urban riots in 196768. Roddenberry's United Federation of Planets, a kind of galactic United Nations, is an advanced society wielding advanced technology, and the non-militaristic aims of the Enterprise are intoned at the beginning of every episode in the original series (TOS): "To explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man [later, 'no one'] has gone before."

Over the decades, Star Trek technologies have fired the imaginations of physicists, engineers and roboticists. Perhaps the most intriguing innovation is the warp drive, the propulsion system that surrounds the Enterprise with a bubble of distorted space-time and moves the craft faster than light to traverse light years in days or weeks. In 1994, theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre showed that such a bubble is possible within Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, but would demand massive amounts of negative energy, also known as exotic matter (M. Alcubierre Class. Quantum Grav. 11, L73; 1994). This is not known to exist except (possibly) in minuscule quantities; and some physicists speculate that the Alcubierre drive might annihilate the destined star system. The warp drive remains imaginary for now…"
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Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2017 4:53 a.m. PST

51 yrs…..this is from Sept 2016 eh

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2017 8:21 a.m. PST

I love Trek, but it only went boldly for two seasons, and that within limits. They might play games with the laws of physics, but from Season Three on, they never EVER challenged Hollywood's political orthodoxy.

They may go faster than light in the future, but they will never have an in-group defined by race or sex. And they may have a cancer preventative, but mankind will never smoke a cigarette again.


Tango0114 Sep 2017 11:37 a.m. PST



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