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Space Science Idle Technology

Engineer Thinks We Could Build a Real Starship Enterprise In 20 Years 589

Nancy_A writes "An engineer has proposed — and outlined in meticulous detail — building a full-sized, ion-powered version of the starship Enterprise. The ship would be based on current technology, and would take about 20 years to construct, at a cost of roughly $1 trillion. 'We have the technological reach to build the first generation of the spaceship known as the USS Enterprise – so let's do it,' writes the curator of the Build The Enterprise website, who goes by the name of BTE-Dan."
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Engineer Thinks We Could Build a Real Starship Enterprise In 20 Years

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  • If you RTFA, there is no goal to reach the next star. The Gen 1 would be an explorer for our solar system alone. The quoted specs say it could reach the moon in 3 days, mars in 90, and be able to visit other planets in reasonable times as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 12, 2012 @12:33PM (#39979475)

    That's nice and all, but there if there is no artificial gravity,...

    The design has artificial gravity [], but only in the saucer section.

  • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @01:11PM (#39979783)

    NO, its not the first 100 miles, its the 10km/sec required to reach orbit. All of these "spaceship 1" type projects are nowhere near the delta-v required to reach orbit and this has caused a lot of confusion. Getting to 100 miles is relatively easy - the delta-V is below the exhaust velocity of chemical rockets so you don't need a huge mass ratio. The problem with orbit is that the delta-V is higher than a chemical propellant so the fuel / mass ratio of the rocket becomes large.

    Earth to orbit is of course possible - we've been doing it for half a century, but its still expensive and difficult.

    --- Joe Frisch

  • I believe what he's suggesting is an equal percentage rate

    If Person A is making $50,000, and he has to pay 30% in taxes, that's $15,000

    If Person B is making $50,000,000, he should have to pay at the same percentage rate, or $15,000,000.

    Rather, Person B has a percentage rate of 14%, or $7,000,000.

    There's more to it though. Through proper investments and tax shelters, the actual amount paid can be closer to the amount that Person A pays. Person B doesn't necessarily get "paid" the full $50M. In the end, Person B may pay less than Person A in taxes, or even receive money back due to losses.

    Person B may receive incentives, such as homes, cars, and residential staff paid for entirely by his employer. Vacation travel may be provided free of charge on the company's jet, or as a favor by another company.

    There are plenty of off-shore tax havens also. He may make a taxable $200,000 in the US. Shell corporations in a number of countries may receive his reimbursements for services rendered, that were little more than notations on the paperwork.

    I'm sure you've heard of CEO's that publicly say that they only make $1/yr. That is a token payment which signifies that they are employees of the company. They don't accept that because they are independently wealthy, nor because the feel they can support themselves with that $1/yr. It sounds good that they only take a $1 salary, but that isn't the only cost to the company. All of their expenses are paid for by the company, partner companies, and various shell companies.

    When I first heard of such things, I thought it was a bunch of conspiracy noise. Over the 15 years, I have worked for and with many millionaires, and have carefully observed how it works. One paid out 50% of his income to the IRS, "just to be safe". It avoided various penalties and ensured that there would always be a refund. That was 50% of his taxable income, which was a small fraction of his actual income. The remainder went to various partner companies world wide, for services that were frequently only on the paperwork.

    I did work for a company who's CEO and CFO ignored the laws though. They created millions of dollars of imaginary money by floating invoices and payments. They convinced investors to buy in their company that was hugely profitable. On the books, it looked like millions. In reality, the company revenue was in the thousands. Investments made up the rest, and they did very well for themselves. Because they committed so many violations of state and federal law, they were caught. One is looking at months in prison. The other is still in court.

    Now back to Person A.. They can't afford to do any of that. They work hard every day to pay their bills and other financial responsibilities. If they fail to pay even a few dollars on their federal taxes, they are penalized heavily. If the IRS decides that a deduction is improper, they will fine heavily. In the 2005 tax year (I believe) I had two cars, and drove a total of approximately 12,000 miles for work. I drove both vehicles equally, and divided the total mileage between them. The deduction was small, but I wanted to be truthful. I did drive two cars. If they compared the odometer reading from when I purchased them, to the current odometer reading, and I claimed I only drove on car, they would see the claim was wrong. In 2009 (I believe), the IRS garnered my wages for $3,000. That was the error they calculated because they denied the deduction for the second car. The error was only a few hundred dollars. The remainder was a penalty. My pay dropped to $300/mo, because the IRS was taking the rest directly from me.

    Those who don't have the money, really need it. That now reduced pay rate did not cover my essential costs. Food, shelter, utilities, and fuel to get to work. I had

  • by Creepy ( 93888 ) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @04:32PM (#39981185) Journal

    My big problems with this:
    1) it is slower than the proposed 39 day VASIMR [] trip to Mars proposed last year,
    2) it is nearly twice as expensive as the Russian nuclear spacecraft []
    3) the non Saucer and body section parts are for... looks? Site is slashdotted, so I can't tell.
    4) The rotational area isn't large enough to provide a consistent 1G, so head and toes will feel different gravities (I did the math on this once [for a spaced based game], and I believe it was around 35-37km/22-23 miles for a 1.8meter/6 foot tall person to feel a fairly consistent 1G - probably not practical for a spaceship). This can cause vertigo.

  • History has shown (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @06:05PM (#39981667)

    History has shown that as populations become more educated and better nourished that birthrates actually decline. It seems that poverty promotes high birth rates. Maybe it has something to do with there being slim odds to pass ones genes on to the future generations, the more one procreates, the better the chances of that occuring.

    How one eliviates poverty and educates the poor is another issue. It has already been shown that drop shipping food doesn't work except in times of extreme famine. It has also been shown that giving financial aid to corrupt governments does not work either. But then again, neither does propping up corrupt regimes corporate and political reasons.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter