The year 2245 is just too distant — we should build and commission a real USS Enterprise right now, cracking the champagne across her hull within 20 years, according to an enterprising engineer. The gigantic ship would use ion propulsion, powered by a 1.5-GW nuclear reactor, and could reach Mars in three months and the moon in three days. Its 0.3-mile-diameter, magnetically suspended gravity wheel spinning at 2 RPM would provide 1G of gravity, and the thing looks just like the "Star Trek" ship of lore.
This project is the brainchild of an engineer who calls himself BTE Dan. As in “Build The Enterprise.”
“We have the technological reach to build the first generation of the spaceship known as the USS Enterprise – so let’s do it,” BTE Dan writes. He even sifts through the federal budget and proposes tax hikes and spending cuts to cover the $1 trillion cost.
Though the "Star Trek" connection lends the project an air of sci-fi fun, BTE Dan is hardly the only engineer dreaming up a next-generation spaceship to the stars. DARPA's 100-Year Starship project is designed partly to foster ideas just like this one, from a project planning roadmap to a real ship.