Star Trek: Are We There Yet?

Last weekend was the second annual Renton City Comic Con. It was held in downtown Renton all along 3rd Street. There was cosplay, panels, vendors, and a great time had by all. Renton City Comic Con is very precious to us here at Science Knights because it was there that we first met Steven C. Smith, our friend and regular consultant from NASA.

We were of course excited to see Steven again, and I made every effort possible to get participate in the two panels he was a part of. The first of these panels was a collaboration between Steven (a representative of NASA) and Tim Lloyd and Morgan Bassford of Blue Origin – the space fairing branch of Jeff Bezos’ companies. The subject matter? Star Trek: Are We There Yet?

Left to right: Morgan Bassford and Tim Lloyd of Blue Origin, Steven C. Smith of NASA

The actual answer? A little bit!

First off, we gotta mention the advent of the smart phone. It is essentially a communicator and a tricorder. Being able to communicate with orbiting satellites, scanning barcodes, taking pictures, as well as transmitting and cataloging all kinds of data, show me another piece of technology that mimics a tricorder better. No seriously, show me. Because I’ll probably want one.

Next in line is that ever elusive Replicator. The ability to be able to reconstruct matter into nearly anything imaginable would be life changing, it would redefine how we work, how we play, how we value our labor, and at the very least how we shop for groceries. NASA can’t quite get there but as Steven C. Smith showed us, there is the Refabricator. ISS Astronauts will be able to create a tool from plastics in space with this specialized 3D printer. Afterwards they will then return the tool to the Refabricator, which will recycle the material and be ready to make a new tool on request.

Travel was the name of the game on the next one, and enter the lovely folks from Blue Origin. They spoke about the New Shepard and the New Glenn. Two spacecraft that have been engineered to ferry passengers to and from orbit. Tim Lloyd and Morgan Bassford said they were developing shuttlecraft, or at least something close to one.

There is no limit to what we can create, what we can dream up, and what we can engineer. Using Star Trek as a goal is a great idea, and together we can most certainly boldly go!

Be sure to check out all the other awesomeness that came from Renton City Comic Con and be on the lookout for more of our collaborations with Steven from NASA and the lovely folks over at Blue Origin!!