I have always felt that the USS Enterprise, from the original Star Trek TV series, was the greatest space ship ever built. The design is so instantly iconic, such a gorgeous shape, such a perfect bridge between the old and the new, that I would love it even if I didn't love Star Trek. That I love Star Trek certainly helps.
Until now I had no scientific proof that the Enterprise was the greatest. This weekend Neil deGrasse Tyson, perhaps the most popular astrophysicist since Carl Sagan, attended Comic-Con. He was there as a panelist, but he also engaged in a very geeky activity: the annual Starship Smackdown. It's a last-day-of-Con tradition where a bunch of semi-famous nerds get together and argue about which of a dozen space ships are the best. You get Slave 1 against The Eage from Space: 1999, Battlestar Galactica against the Gunstar from The Last Starfighter. This time the final debate came down to the original USS Enterprise NCC 1701 vs the USS Enterprise NCC 1701-A, the refit ship from the movies. Sitting in the audience, Tyson was inspired to speak up, and he gave the impassioned speech above.
I love it!
Thanks to Mike for the video link.