February 21, 2015 11:33 am

From Warp Drives to Cloaking Devices: Star Trek Cosmic Queries Sunday

Screen capture from the movie Star Trek III: The Search for Spock showing the USS Enterprise vs. a Klingon Bird of Prey. © 2015 CBS Studios Inc All Rights Reserved. STAR TREK and related marks are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc.

The USS Enterprise vs. a Klingon Bird of Prey from “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.” © 2015 CBS Studios Inc All Rights Reserved. STAR TREK and related marks are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc.

Star Trek warped into our public consciousness on September 8, 1966 when The Man Trap aired on NBC.

That means for many of us, we’ve been talking about warp drives and transporter beams and phasers for most of our lives. Alien races like the Klingons and Romulans became more familiar to some of us than actual foreign cultures here on our home planet.

Here at Star Talk, we’ve explored Star Trek in more than a couple of episodes. In Season 1, Episode 4, Neil explored The Science of Star Trek with guest physicist Lawrence Krauss. In Season 2, Neil had A Conversation with Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura on Star Trek, which he continued in NASA and Nichelle Nichols. Later that season, Neil also had A Conversation with Whoopi Goldberg who played Guinan on Star Trek: The Next Generation. In Season 3, Neil spoke to Whoopi’s fellow ST:TNG actors Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton in The Best of Both Worlds.

Leighann Lord was the comic co-host for The Best of Both Worlds, where we found out that she is a self-proclaimed “geek-girl” and Trekker. Well, Leighann is back this week to help Neil deGrasse Tyson answer your Cosmic Queries about all things Trek.

For some of you, these questions may have waited nearly 50 years to be answered.

Questions like how do cloaking devices work, and how come the Romulans and the Klingons have them but the Federation doesn’t?

Or, how could the body that gets reassembled on the destination end of a transporter beam ever possibly be the real you, complete with all your thoughts, and dreams, and memories?

Or, if the Klingons are so warlike, how did they ever even survive to make it off planet to become one of Captain Kirk’s biggest enemies?

Or, if  Geordi La Forge’s multi-spectrum visor is so superior to human sight, why don’t more people in the future use one?

Or, if the Alcubierre Warp Drive… well, you get the point.

You’ve got questions. Neil’s got answers. Join us Sunday, February 22 at 7:00 PM ET on our website, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn and SoundCloud.

(And to answer one of your questions myself: this show is prerecorded, so there is no place to send your Cosmic Queries now for this episode. We asked our fans to provide these questions a while back, on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.)

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Jeffrey Simons