I look at you and see the darkness rising to the surface, signaling my departure.
Star Trek: Warp Drive
Could it be that warp drive might become a reality? It seems that ion propulsion and future engine technology will allow for deeper exploration of our galaxy as well as other galaxies. According to The European Space Agency’s article “World-first firing of air-breathing electric thruster”, satellites are able to fly “in very low orbits for years on end” due to ion propulsion. NASA’s article “NASA – Ion Propulsion” explains that “the NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) [was] designed to reduce mission cost and trip time….and [tested to show that it] could operate for the required duration of a range of missions”. Perhaps eventually an ion propulsion engine with markedly strong thrusters and a high level of fuel efficiency will accompany viable solutions for travel at the speed of light. Until then, warp drive will remain a worthy future ambition.
This is the last post for the course SmithsonianX:POPX3.1 Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology through edX.