Is Star Trek's Impulse Drive Possible? - Deepstash
Is Star Trek's Impulse Drive Possible?

Is Star Trek's Impulse Drive Possible?


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Is Star Trek's Impulse Drive Possible?

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Star Trek’s Many Technologies

Star Trek, a science fiction mainstay, has millions of fans, fondly called Trekkies. They are very interested in the many innovative, but fictional technologies featured in the long-running franchise, many of which have become a reality(like the Communicator or the Floppy Disc).

The fictional Star Trek universe, called the Trekiverse, has spaceships flying at ‘warp’ speeds, many times faster than the speed of light. The sub-light speed cruise modes of spaceships are called Impulse Drive.


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Impulse engines use nuclear-powered propulsion technology, and though the speed is not faster than light, it is faster than what we have today. All this is still in the fictional realm, though the theory is sound and we can have such engines in the future.

Impulse drives have a theoretical problem of time dilation, in which ‘near-light’ speeds cause anomalies in time. They also can behave unpredictably in different atmospheres, as they are designed to work in a vacuum.


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Ion drives are real life engine propulsion technologies similar to impulse drives used in the fictional Star Trek universe. They operate continuously due to low-power consumption, like the Dawn spacecraft sent to dwarf planet Ceres in 2007. It lacks the quick acceleration ability of the fictional Impulse drives, but is promising nonetheless.


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Rocket scientists are working on plasma drives, which use electricity instead of the old ‘chemical’ technology in most rocket engines.

They are supposed to be much more powerful and fast in terms of propulsion and can get a spacecraft to Mars in about 30 days, as compared to the six months it takes now.


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