;-) Essays

Why We Must Achieve Warp Speed

by Winky Studmire

Winky Profile I am super excited to see Star Trek this weekend, but since it’s rated PG-13, my dad will have to come with me. This poses a problem only because I’m destined for a “why-William-Shatner-is-still-the-best-Star-Trek-captain” rant. No big deal though. If the movie ends up half as good as the trailers, it'll be worth it.

Perhaps, I’m most excited about this latest installment of Star Trek, because I'm convinced that interstellar travel is as inevitable as my Dad's Shatner stories.

You heard me. Star Trek-like space travel is certain to happen ... for real.

I know what you’re thinking: “How sweet! This little 11-year-old kid thinks Star Trek can happen in real life. Isn’t he precious?”

My whole life, I’ve heard grown-ups and the entertainment industry telling me to “Dream big,” asserting that “Anything is possible!” Yet, for some reason, when I actually follow through on their advice, all I hear is that what I’m dreaming big about is impossible.

That’s why I like the way the people involved with the 100 Year Starship initiative think. Their goal is to make human travel beyond our solar system a reality within the next hundred years. Since I’m not sure I’ll still be interested in such a momentous trip when I’m 111, I’m going to get it done sooner.

I invite all skeptics and scoffers to take a second and observe how rapidly technology is advancing in our society. Think about how long it took for humans to get from the wheel to the printing press, and then how long it took to get from printed books to the personal computer. Now think about how quickly we’ve advanced from having a computer in our home to having a mini-computer that we carry around with us all day--that is coincidentally also capable of making phone calls and taking photographs and home videos.

I was born 3 months before Apple released the first iPod. While my parents can recall using an answering machine or going on the Internet for the first time, the technological advancements that have occured during my own brief lifetime surpass what the previous generation has witnessed occur over the past few decades. Since I’ve been on earth, an explosion of personal technology and social media has completely transformed the way humans are working, thinking, and interacting with each other...and the rapidity of technology’s advancements is increasing at an exponential rate.

How could we NOT be headed for interstellar space travel?

There may be those of you who are thinking, “But Winky...we have so many problems here on earth! Why not focus on a more practical goal?” The 100 Year Starship people answer this question best, explaining, “pioneering and transforming breakthrough applications” to make interstellar space travel possible “enhances the quality of life for all on Earth.” In other words, along the way to this big goal of making Star Trek a reality, we will be forced to invent solutions to many of earth's problems anyway!

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Visit my Facebook Page.