Faster-than-Light Travel in 50 Years

  • Author: ChemViews
  • Published Date: 05 April 2013
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
thumbnail image: Faster-than-Light Travel in 50 Years

April 5, 2063, is the predicted date of Zefram Cochrane’s test flight of The Phoenix, Earth’s first warp ship. Zefram Cochrane is the answer to the Guess the Chemist quiz from April 1st. Cochrane will build the ship in a missile silo in Bozeman, Montana, USA, and will use a Titan II missile as the launch vehicle. The four-meter cockpit will be constructed from titanium. Light speed will be achieved by the craft just after 11:00 am, which will attract the attention of the passing Vulcan ship T'Plana-Hath. This will prompt the Vulcans to make first contact with Cochrane, and Earth, and usher in a new period of peace for humanity.


Warp drive will soon become the primary propulsion system for faster-than-light interstellar spacecraft. It will utilize dilithium crystals to regulate an antimatter/matter reaction as this annihilation reaction releases the large quantities of energy required to warp space and travel faster than light.


The unit of subspace distortion, that is, the force required to establish a field of warp factor one, or the speed of light, will be named after Zefram Cochrane. During his lifetime, Cochrane will become one of Earth's most renowned scientists.

In 2117, Cochrane will disappear during an interstellar expedition from Alpha Centauri and will be presumed to have died in space. In 2267, it will be discovered by Captain James T. Kirk, U.S.S. Enterprise, that Cochrane has been kept alive for 150 years by a cloud-like entity on an asteroid in the Gamma Canaris region.

Cochrane's discoveries and mysterious disappearance will make him a household name and famous historical figure.


Zefram Cochrane is the answer to Guess the Chemist (16) from April 1st.

  • Star Trek: First Contact,
    Paramount Pictures, Hollywood, California, USA, 1996.
  • The Star Trek Encyclopedia: A Reference Guide to the Future,
    M. Okuda, D. Okuda, D. Mirek,
    Simon and Schuster, London, UK, 1994.
    ISBN: 0-671-71834-7

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