Physicists from Leiden University have 3D-printed a miniature version of an Intrepid-class starship from Star Trek (via PC Gamer). The idea of a tiny starship is probably something you haven’t considered outside of the plot of a Star Trek episode, but this microscopic model is actually part of a larger research experiment the physicists published in the scientific journal Soft Matter.
The ship — measuring 15 microns in size — looks like the USS Voyager and was microprinted by the physicists for their microswimmer research. Unlike the impulse engines and warp drive of its TV counterpart, this Voyager is propelled through liquid by chemical reactions between its platinum coating and the hydrogen peroxide solution the physicists placed it in. Their article notes that these studies usually use sphere-shaped models for tests, so the more out-there shapes you see here were intended to produce different results and push the limits of the researchers’ 3D-printer in the process.