Two of the men at the forefront of the space exploration industry reveal that the Star Trek franchise inspired them to push the boundaries
The essence of Star Trek isn’t the technology, the cool spaceships or the aliens; it’s the message of hope that it gives us. It’s a powerful message that has been fundamental to the longevity of the franchise and created a global following of fans that yearn to see a future similar to the one portrayed in the show. I think for me, however, technology played a huge role in making me fall in love with the show. Every theory that was mentioned, every technology that was used; I wanted to see if it was something real or something based on fantasy.
It’s exactly the same reason I have become obsessed with the current ‘space race’ with private companies making huge leaps forward in our space travelling ability. It’s the reason I totally annoy my girlfriend by waking up at 4am on a Thursday to watch the latest Space X launch and cheer like a crazed sports fan when they land the first stage booster on their drone ship.
It therefore pleases me to discover that two of my heroes, and leaders in this field, are huge Star Trek fans. Elon Musk, who had a huge hand in the creation of PayPal, Zip2, Tesla Motors, Solar City and Space X, and Amazon boss Jeff Bezos who has been making great advancements with his space company, Blue origin, have both revealed Star Trek played a big role in their careers.
Jeff Bezos told the Washington Post:
"“You know, when I was in fourth grade, me and my friends Dean and Kyle, who lived next door a couple of houses down, in Houston, Texas, would play ‘Star Trek’ almost every day and we’d fight over who’d get to be Captain Kirk, or Spock, and somebody used to play the computer, too. And it was actually very fun – we’d have little cardboard phasers and cardboard tricorders, you know. Good days.”"
Bezos said that he was a huge fan and if he sells his Amazon stock, worth many billions, he would invest it all in Blue Origin. He wants to develop reusable rockets to make space exploration affordable and therefore viable. What excited me most about his ambition is when he said:
"“When does Star Trek happen? We still have a couple of centuries. I don’t think we’ll need that much time, actually.”"
Elon Musk is making great strides at Space X with his commercial space program. He already has several successful ISS resupply missions under his belt and after a few initial snags; they seem to be nailing the landings which will make space flight a lot cheaper.
"“Reusable rockets are vastly important if you think it’s important that humanity span beyond earth and become a multi-planetary species. If you can imagine watching Star Trek, and if they built a new star ship after every trip? It’s pretty silly. And all the other transports we use — planes, trains, cars, bikes — are all reusable. But not rockets.”"
He also spoke about getting inspired by both Star Trek and Star Wars: