Tag Archives | Star Trek

Real Life Tractor Beam

Gene Roddenberry & The Star Trek Cast

Yet another one of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek gadgets of the future now exists in the 21st Century. Via BBC News:

A real-life “tractor beam”, which uses light to attract objects, has been developed by scientists.

It is hoped it could have medical applications by targeting and attracting individual cells.

The research, published in Nature Photonics and led by the University of St Andrews, is limited to moving microscopic particles.

In science fiction programmes such as Star Trek, tractor beams are used to move much more massive objects.

It is not the first time science has aimed to replicate the feat – albeit at smaller scales.

In 2011, researchers from China and Hong Kong showed how it might be done with laser beams of a specific shape – and the US space agency Nasa has even funded a studyto examine how the technique might help with manipulating samples in space.

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SpaceX Takes Star Trek’s ‘Scotty’ (And Others) to The Final Frontier

James Doohan

Doohan at the Dryden Flight Research Center in 1967.

Aside from the news that the United States’ space program has effectively been privatized in the wake of the retirement of the Space Transportation System (Shuttle) program, this noteworthy craft was carrying the ashes of over 300 people. That’s $2,995 per gram of ashes into Earth orbit. As Clara Moskowitz writes on Space.com:

Scotty has finally been beamed up. The ashes of the actor James Doohan, who played Scotty on the 1960s television series Star Trek, were launched to space this morning (May 22nd) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The unmanned Falcon 9 blasted off at 3:44 a.m. EDT (0744 GMT) from here at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying the Dragon capsule filled with cargo bound for the International Space Station. Also packed aboard the rocket was a secondary payload carrying remains from 308 people, including Doohan and Mercury program astronaut Gordon Cooper, according to ABC News and Reuters.

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How Hollywood Killed The Las Vegas Starship Enterprise

Gary Goddard, CEO of entertainment design firm The Goddard Group tells the story of how a full scale Starship Enterprise very nearly came to Las Vegas in 1992, only for Paramount Pictures' CEO Stanley Jaffe to ruin every Trekkie's wet dream:
...We learned everything we could about the Starship — its actually size and dimensions, how it would exist in “dry dock” on the planet if indeed such a situation had been possible. We imagined what it could be, and how we might achieve it. We got Ken Ball (former head of engineering at Disney’s MAPO) involved to figure out how to engineer and support it. (Ultimately we realized we would need to add some supports on the outer edge of the “disc” section due to the extremely high wind conditions in Vegas. For this we created a high tech “scaffolding structure” that gave the ship more of the appearance of being in an open-air dry dock. I have not yet located that sketch, but I’ll try to find it.) Source: The Goddard Group The “big idea” was building the ship itself at full-scale. That was the main attraction. That being said, we also knew we would have to have some kind of “show” on board...
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Star Trek Background Scenery

The Space Trek tumblr is a collection of lushly colored, eerily beautiful establishing shots from Star Trek episodes — the brief moments on the show during which the actors were out of frame. It presents a vision of a calm, pristine, simultaneously alluring and foreboding distant future, and supports my theory that most television programs would be better minus the characters.


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NASA Completes 52-Year Mission To Find And Kill God (Video)

Kirk Asks "Why Does God Need A Starship?"I have one question: Was James T. Kirk involved with this mission? Via the Onion:
After more than five decades of tireless work, brave exploration, and technological innovation aimed at a single objective, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced Wednesday that it had finally completed its mission to find and kill God. "I am ecstatic to tell you all today that we have beheld the awesome visage of the supreme architect of the cosmos, and we have murdered Him," jubilant administrator Charles Bolden said after being drenched with champagne by other celebrating NASA employees. "There have been innumerable setbacks, missteps, and hardships over the past 50 years, but we always stayed true to our ultimate goal and we never gave up." "We finally got the son of a bitch!" Bolden continued. "He's dead! God is dead!"
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‘A Klingon Christmas Carol’ Attacks A Holiday Classic (Video)

Klingon Christmas CarolFirst a Klingon opera, now this. Klingon (the language) sure has a lot of traction for one invented for a Star Trek movie in the '80s. And this is also a non-Christianized version of the Dickens classic, because as I learned from the story, the Klingons killed their gods. Douglas Belkin reports in the Wall Street Journal:
The arc of "A Klingon Christmas Carol" follows the familiar Dickens script: An old miser is visited on a hallowed night by three ghosts who shepherd him through a voyage of self-discovery. The narrative has been rejiggered to match the Klingon world view. For starters, since there is neither a messiah nor a celebration of his birth on the Klingon planet of Kronos, the action is pegged to the Klingon Feast of the Long Night. Carols and trees are replaced with drinking, fighting and mating rituals. And because Klingons are more concerned with bravery than kindness, the main character's quest is for courage.
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Mr. Spock Is Now A Legal Authority in Texas

Mr SpockWow, Texas just became a lot more ... logical. And picking the best film from the original series, nice touch. (You'll find the scene referred to in this ruling at about two minutes into the clip below.) Great find from Charlie Jane Anders on io9.com:
The wisdom of Spock has guided us all for years, but now it's enshrined in Texas law. Ruling on the limits of police power, the Texas Supreme Court quoted from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Ruling in Robinson vs. Crown Cork Seal Company (PDF), Justice Don Willett writes: Appropriately weighty principles guide our course. First, we recognize that police power draws from the credo that "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." Second, while this maxim rings utilitarian and Dickensian (not to mention Vulcan), it is cabined by something contrarian and Texan: distrust of intrusive government and a belief that police power is justified only by urgency, not expediency. And there's this footnote after the word Vulcan: See STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (Paramount Pictures 1982). The film references several works of classic literature, none more prominently than A Tale of Two Cities. Spock gives Admiral Kirk an antique copy as a birthday present, and the film itself is bookended with the book's opening and closing passages. Most memorable, of course, is Spock's famous line from his moment of sacrifice: "Don't grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh . . ." to which Kirk replies, "the needs of the few."
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Scientists Develop Real-Life Tractor Beam

tractorbeamsAustralian scientists have built device that generates a tractor beam, commonly considered a  figment of alien abduction scenarios and Star Trek. The researchers’ creation thus far is capable of transporting small objects distances of up to five feet, using only a beam of light, Popular Science reports:

Using only light, Australian researchers say they are able to move small particles almost five feet through the air. It’s more than 100 times the distance achieved by existing optical “tweezers,” the researchers say.

Not quite a simple grabby tractor beam, the new system works by shining a hollow laser beam at an object and taking advantage of air-temperature differences to move it around.

It works by shining a hollow laser beam around small glass particles, as Inside Science explains. The air around the particle heats up, but the hollow center of the beam stays cool. The heated air molecules keep the object balanced in the dark center.

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