Starship USS Enterprise

Starship USS Enterprise

According to Star Trek legend, the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) was constructed at the San Francisco Starship Yards and commissioned in the year 2245. This Constitution-class starship was first commanded by Captain Robert April, followed by Captain Christopher Pike, and finally Captain James T. Kirk. Star Trek was launched as a television series in the late sixties, but was cancelled after only three years, although numerous spin-offs and movies have been made from derivations of the original theme. The photomicrograph above illustrates a profile-view of the starship USS Enterprise, the vehicle that propelled Captain Kirk and his crew around the galaxy. We discovered this miniature rendition of the famous spacecraft on a vintage late 1960s to early 1970s era Texas Instruments bipolar logic integrated circuit. This chip was commonly used in a number of computers during the 8088-80386 period (including PCs, Sun, IBM and HP workstations made during the 1980s and early 1990s), meaning that many of us unknowingly had computers with the USS Enterprise hidden inside.

There is another version of the USS Enterprise that contains an additional mask bearing the initials TI that partially obscures the artwork. We suspect that this mask was added by the company to make the artwork difficult to see and to discourage designers from placing additional doodling on the integrated circuits.


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