Star Trek has inspired scientific advancement and invention in the past. Generally, those have been achievements such as the mobile phone and automatic doors. However, “BTE Dan” is convinced that within about 20 years, using existing technology an actual USS Enterprise can be built.
This isn’t a joke. Mr. Dan identifies himself as an engineer and his Build The Enterprise website includes detailed plans and outlines. By limiting himself to existing technology things like “warp engines” and “photon torpedoes” are still the stuff of science-fiction, but he does include numerous nuclear reactors to power a ship that would be the single largest construction ever built by humanity, including the ability generate enough speed to get to Mars in 90 days.
Even BTE Dan notes that political reality would stand in the way of the nations of the world combining their resources to make this happen (he estimates that the costs would be about 0.27% of the US GDP, and that kind of spending is pretty hard to sustain for decades on something with no visible benefit to the citizenry). But while this is impractical, it’s also very intelligently put together and frankly endearing to think that if we as a species could ever check our differences enough to cooperate on something of this scale, it just might work. Not to say that I believe that his outlines would all be easy to implement or work, but as soon as practical scientists were putting time and money into it, they’d be able to find solutions to issues that BTE Dan didn’t think of (even if it took them years—remember this is a multiple-decade project).
It sounds crazy, right? But remember, in the medieval days, laborers spent decades building the great Cathedrals. And regardless of one’s feelings about Christianity or religion as a whole, those buildings stand a monuments to human aspiration, faith, and ingenuity. Wouldn’t it be great to imagine that we could embark on another such adventure in our modern era, one that would take us where no one has gone before?