Monday February 20th 2017

Star Trek technology becomes more science than fiction

Star Trek crewFifty years ago, the first episode of Star Trek aired. It started as a quirky science-fiction television show that lasted for a mere three seasons. But the out-of-this world series launched a long-running story that went on to capture the imaginations of generations of viewers. It has left its fingerprints not only on pop culture but also on the world of science.

The original Star Trek followed a multicultural space crew in the 23rd century as it traveled to distant corners of the galaxy on its ship, the Enterprise. Each episode began with the captain’s voice telling viewers that the crew’s mission was “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Its officers and crew faced terrific challenges, hostile aliens and strange new planets. Though the series wasn’t a rampant success, it led to 13 movies and five more series over the following decades. A sixth series, Discovery, will begin airing in 2017.

Space may have been the “final frontier,” but it wasn’t the only one in this fictional world. Explorers on the Enterprise used a variety of futuristic tools, weapons and other technology that seemed wild and impossible. The ship traveled through space faster than light, at “warp speed.” It used something called a tractor beam to capture or tow other ships. In the face of danger, characters fired intense beams of light, or lasers, from weapons called phasers. To heal the sick, the ship doctor, “Bones” McCoy, scanned patients with a handheld device called a tricorder. (“Tri-“ comes from the Greek word for three. So, a tricorder could do three things: scan, record and compute.) Hostile alien ships could make themselves invisible by “cloaking.” And characters frequently used devices that acted very like today’s smartphones and tablet computers.

Read more here.

 

Image: CBS

More from category

The Internet of Things wants to link all facets of our world
The Internet of Things wants to link all facets of our world

A 94Fifty looks like an ordinary basketball. You can inflate, dribble, pass, shoot, swoosh and slam-dunk it. But [Read More]

A woman’s place is in science
A woman’s place is in science

Last October in a noisy ballroom in Nashville, Tenn., six girls sat at a round table to design a spacecraft that could [Read More]

What medicine can learn from squid teeth
What medicine can learn from squid teeth

Many types of squid have razor-sharp teeth. They just are not where you’d expect to find them. Each of the [Read More]

Feeling Objects that Aren’t There
Feeling Objects that Aren’t There

Imagine this. You wake up in the morning to the irritating buzz of your alarm. Instead of fumbling for a snooze button, [Read More]

Archives