For generations mankind has reached for the moon and the stars, and science fiction authors have gone beyond.
Rocket technology has gone from solid fuel to nuclear propulsion, and other methods of travel have suggested using a Solar Sail to propell spacecraft by the rays of the sun, or other nearby star.
In Star Trek television shows, movies and books, they discuss Warp Drive as faster than light travel. Star Wars suggest Hyperspace, and many suggest wormholes in space as conduits between universes, some even accessible by technology like in Stargate.
Many authors have come up with various descriptions of spacecraft capable of near or greater than light speed, in various science fiction novels. I will not dare to compare myself to the greats like Clarke, Asimov, or their ilk, but they are indeed inspiration for many. The science fiction world recently lost a grandmaster in Arthur C Clarke. I feel it is our duty as fans to continue his legacy.
Garry Eff was a brilliant physician recently hired by the Worldwide Ecospace Organization (WEO) to help them develop an alternative spacecraft engine/propulsion system to compete against government funded NASA for future space missions beyond our planetary solar system. His degrees in physics came at several world class institutions, Harvard, Oxford, and U of T. His brilliance in mathematical formulae and equations made WEO's choice to hire him an obvious choice. NASA though government funded would be unable to justify to the public, the 8 figure salary WEO was offering Garry. Garry no stranger to numbers was easily swayed to gravitate to the larger one that had $ attached.
WEO's mission for Garry was to create an engine that needed minor assistance to start, and could self-propell for eons afterwards. No small feat. Clearly the thinking for such a device had to be outside of the box. Solid fuel and nuclear reactions would not be desireable let alone allowable for the prototype.
They, his team of young engineers, mathemeticians, physicists, and astronomy majors, would create a scale model in a controlled, sealed, vacuum environment to most closely resemble true outer space. The objective was to use limited electrical energy from a battery source to start a rotary style motor, which would then engage the propulsion system that required no fuel at all to continue travelling.
The concept was indeed outside the box. What exists in space?
Vacuum, planets, asteroids, man-made sattelites, and presumably other matter. How could a universe with a multitude of stars and planetary systems be filled only with a vacuum? The idea was, that any matter, no matter how small, would be able to be used as a fuel, requiring no stops, as a simple method of garbage in-garbage out, in order to run the propulsion drive being created. Understanding the concept was to create a giant vacuum cleaner that operates in a vacuum.
Garry called the device the VMD for Vacuum Matter Drive, some had thought it would be funnier as DMV for Department of Motor Vehicles, but Garry was unimpressed. This was it's official description, but it needed a good name people would remember. Having read a multitude of science fiction in his lifetime, he felt it would be fitting to name it after his favourite author of all time: Arthur C. Clarke. So it was officially going to be nicknamed as the Clarke Drive.
Testing of the prototype would begin in a few weeks. All of his staff had been working day and night to produce a scale model of the drive, and a craft to contain it. Some suggested it looked an awful lot like the Enterprise. Who could argue the obvious similarities, but perhaps it should have resembled Discovery.