Dr Forge has a very interesting article over on the Pandoracon website that compares how antimatter is used in Star Trek versus how we are currently able to use it. There is more overlap between the use of physics on Star Trek the use of of physics in real world than you would initially assume. Penn State is actually in the process of designing an engine that runs on antimatter and could potentially be used for manned interplanetary missions! I just love this kind of thing. There is nothing like science to renew my faith in the future of humanity, inspire a feeling of awe in the universe, and leave me feeling so grateful that I am alive to witness a small part of it. If you would like to read more about what it would take to make your favorite science fiction technology a reality I highly recommend Michio Kaku‘s book Physics of the Impossible. Kaku takes you through various science fiction technology, from star travel to force fields, and explains what it would take make them happen in real life. Some things are surprisingly close to being able to be realized in the near future while others would require us to discover loop holes in the laws of physics. The writing is surprisingly easy to understand, even if I did feel like my mind was rushing to keep up with some of the concepts. One technology that I loved and that falls into the technically-possible category was the concept of a solar sail. These are sails that would use radiation pressure from light to push against ultra thin mirror sails in space to propel a space craft to near light speed. Over and over again while reading this book I felt my mind being blow wide open. Get yourself a copy and be inspired!