Trekkies have known it all along. But now a down-to-earth real-life physicist has bodly gone and stated that Star Trek was virtual reality.
It was not so much science fiction -- more that it was ahead of its time, said Professor Lawrence Krauss.
After watching 250 episodes of the adventures of Captain Kirk and the Starship Enterprise, he has concluded that everything from traveling at warp speed to being beamed up by Mr Spock could one day be possible.
He has written a book saying cloaking devices -- which make a spaceship invisible -- and deflector shields may not be mumbo-jumbo after all. He analyses the problems Kirk and his crew have to contend with crossing the galaxy faster than the speed of light to get to their strange new worlds.
Writing in New Scientist magazine, Professor Krauss admits he even studied Star Trek technical manuals to discover that a five-year space mission at warp speed would take 50,000 Earth years.
He says hiding a space ship from the villainous Klingons using a cloaking device could be done using gravity and bending light rays round the object to be made invisible. Warp speeds could be reached using nuclear fusion and pure radiation to drive the starship's engines.
However, he says transporting a person would be harder, even using the technology dreamed up by Star Trek writers. Beaming up involves vaporising a person first, and that would mean heating them up to between 100 and 1,000 billion degrees centigrade.
Professor Krauss, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, said: "Three hundred years ago, they didn't think anyone would fly. It is hard to know what the world will be like 300 years from now." He said Spock was using floppy computer disks in the series before they were invented.
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