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Star Trek
(by Rosy Mondardini)

These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise on her five-year mission to seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldly go where no man has gone before...

In 1966 Gene Roddenberry created the science fiction television show STAR TREK. Although the first of two pilot episodes was pronounced "too cerebral" by TV bosses, once on air the adventures of the Starship Enterprise and its crew developed a huge following, with devotees becoming known as "Trekkies". More than thirty years, four television series and several movies later, STAR TREK is still going strong. NASA's first space shuttle was named "Enterprise," in response to hundreds of thousands of letters from fans asking that the shuttle be named after the Starship.

STAR TREK features the adventures of the crew of the Starship Enterprise on its five-year mission to explore outer space. Clearly, having to travel huge distances every week, the starship needs to travel at speeds much greater than the speed of light.

So Gene Roddenberry equipped the original Enterprise with warp drive, a hypothetical propulsion system that warps space in such a way that distances between stars are, in effect, greatly reduced (Einstein showed that matter warps space; in other words, space itself is not "flat" but curved). Then, he resorted to a based-on-fact fuel to provide the energy needed: the Enterprise's faster-than-light engines are powered by antimatter.

The mixing of matter and antimatter is almost certainly the most efficient kind of power source that a starship could use (and one of the best scientific features of Star Trek): antimatter (frozen antihydrogen) is handled with magnetic fields, and never allowed to touch normal matter.

(Star trek - page 1of 2)
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