Does “Star Trek” make it look too easy?

April 27, 2012 in Hieroglyph, Resources

Andre Bormanis, writing in The Space Review, asks, “Does “Star Trek” make it look too easy?”

“In an interview with a reporter from the Associated Press, Scott Pace, the current director of the Space Policy Institute at The George Washington University and a former NASA associate administrator, was asked to comment on the April 12th failure of the North Korean rocket launch. He noted that sending a vehicle into space is still a significant technical challenge, and added, “In many ways, the worst enemy of NASA is Star Trek Captain Picard says ‘engage’ and the ship moves. And people think ‘How hard can this be?’ …”

Geoffrey A. Landis is a scientist and a science fiction writer. As a scientist, he is a researcher at the NA SA John Glenn Research Center. He works on projects related to advanced power and propulsion systems for space and planetary exploration and is currently a member of the science team for the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. As a science fiction writer, he has won a Nebula Award, two Hugo Awards, and a Locus Award, as well as two Rhysling Awards for his poetry.

1 response to Does “Star Trek” make it look too easy?

  1. Hmm, in the most recent movie, the command “Engage” results in a sputter, sputter, oops! (For what I believe to be the very reason you’ve mentioned, lol)

    I might rephrase the question to: Unless they’re in the process of actually trying to do it themselves, do people underestimate how difficult things are?

    To which I would reply with a resounding YES! Folks tend to think that whatever someone else can do, they could manage even easier, and they’re almost invariably wrong when they do. If you ever want an excellent example of this in action, go to a snow park, and watch the kids wipe out, trying 10th level tricks with 1st level skills! Do they EVER start with something simple? No! They try the most complicated stuff first, and wipe out! Why?

    Because they’d be embarrassed, to even be seen, doing a 1st level trick! But since even the pro’s wipe out on the tough stuff, well, that’s NOT embarrassing, just painful, lol!