Engineering the USS Enterprise

We just saw JJ Abram’s “re-imagined” Star Trek, and it was totally awesome! So awesome, in fact, that Mrs. ‘toy and I watched it twice in as many days! Everyone’s raved about how they liked the story line, the actors and the characters. I’m all for that, but as I’m always on the look-out for a realistic portrayal of tech and stuff even in a purely SciFi movie, I’ll share one observation with regard to ship design on this current Star Trek adventure.

NCC-1701, or the USS Enterprise, has undergone several iterations over the years. And while Enterprise has gone from the plasticky looking starship of the 60’s to the computer-rendered leviathan of pre-JJ Abrams Star Trek movies, only the JJ Abrams’ Enterprise sought to portray the interior of Enterprise for what it is – a ship (much like today’s sailing vessels) with lots of support girders, gangways, ladders, crawlspaces and, the one thing that any ship would probably never run out of, pipes and tubes. I always thought the engineering section of all previous Enterprise iterations as being too sleek and “clean” – I don’t mean that engineering should be a grimy, oil- and soot-filled department, but I can’t image it being spacious and sleek just because it’s in the future. Space on any ship, including luxury liners and yatchs, is always a premium, even more so in engineering. And I suspect that such a situation will still prove true even in a Star Trek future.

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