Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Star Trek and Space Elevators

Paramount is redoing Star Trek. Which is, I think, awesome.

Yes, I like Star Trek but, please: TOS is a product of the friggin' sixties, TNG is so very 80s and .. it's all so very crufty at the point.

Clear the decks, I say: junk the canon, kick the tires, light the fire, set course for the stars, warp factor six.

It's a detail in the trailers that I was pointed to: they've got a space elevator in there.

Somehow over the last six years or so, it's become some kind of habit for lazy story tellers: if you've got a story set in the future, you gotta have a space elevator. Doesn't matter if it fits or not - shove that puppy in there.

Space elevators are to 2009 what unisex body suits were to the 60s - The Future.

I just don't think they fit in the Trek universe.

Think about it: they've got matter transporters, faster than light drives and abundant and cheap energy. The latter is not stated, but c'mon: they've got enough energy to move some pretty friggin huge spaceships around normal space, plus whatever input it takes to turn the magic FTL drives on. Whatever problems the 23rd century has, they've solved the energy crisis.

They don't need a space elevator. Man-sized cargo they shove around with a matter transporter. Larger stuff would get sent to orbit on a shuttle. A space elevator would take a long time (relativley speaking) to get stuff to earth orbit and then you gotta tranship it.

No. In a universe where you can move matter around at the push of a button, with widely available travel faster than light and aliens are guys wearing prothetics on their faces, you don't need a space elevator.

It's here in the real world that we need a space elevator.
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