It is well known that there appears to be some divergence between the events of the Star Trek universe and ours (in particular, the Augments and Khan Singh, etc.)

Related: Has Star Trek ever addressed why our timeline is different than theirs?

But what is the latest specific person or object or historical event referenced in Star Trek that appears to be the same as in our universe.

I.e. not what is the earliest point of divergence, but what is the latest apparent similarity?

In order to determine the latest congruent date, we need to determine the earliest point in our timeline that matches the depiction. For example, using my own proposal of Stephen Hawking: It's true that he is still alive today, but presumably his appearance and the equipment on his chair shown in "Descent" only correlate that reference to some date in the 90s, not today.

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    Speculation: aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise in STIV; space shuttle Enterprise referenced in ENT; Stephen Hawking in "Descent (Part I)" Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 15:18
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    Weak similarity: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/80025/… American flag had 50 stars until 2033, which I guess weakly could be used to argue that the American flag is common right up to the present day (for now). Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 15:22
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    More of an homage, but Spock (Leonard Nimoy version) passing.
    – Monso
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 18:14
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    Khan's 20th century history was actually covered in the novels. He was actually a part of our timeline but his creation and the creation of the SS Botany Bay was a part of some black projects that were not made common knowledge until later in history.
    – Stephen
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 2:19
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    Since in my world, Star Trek doesn't include the ENT-confused-timetravel-stuff which gives me the creeps, or the new reboot-universe movies (although Cumberbatch did an awesome Khan, I'll admit!)... I'll throw in Fermat's theorem. Picard said it remained unsolved (which was true until 1994).
    – Damon
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 16:50

6 Answers 6


The International Space Station...in the opening credits of Enterprise.

Construction started 1998 and completed 2011.

Certainly latest 2009 as, per Wikipedia

The truss and solar panels are also a large part of the station. (launched in multiple flights between 2000-2009)

enter image description here

From Space.com (See Date Link above)

This photo of the International Space Station was snapped by an STS-133 crew member on the space shuttle Discovery on March 7, 2011.

The final landing of space shuttle Discovery in Florida today (March 9) before the spacecraft retires is not the only an ending for NASA's shuttle program. The mission also delivered the final American piece of the multinational puzzle that is the International Space Station.

Discovery will land at NASA's Kennedy Space Center ...[snip], two days after leaving the International Space Station. During its 13-day flight, it delivered a humanoid robot called Robonaut 2 and a bus-size storage room to the orbiting lab.

enter image description here

  • See edit to original. Can we determine the earliest date the ISS matched the appearance depicted in the credits? Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 15:36
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    The eugenetics wars of 1995 didn't happen.
    – Joshua
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 15:55
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    I'd argue that it references a real world object as it exists now which was the crux of the question.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 16:03
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    @Joshua Umm, citation? I'm pretty sure we fought a eugenetics war in which some of the key players escaped into space 20 or so years ago. Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 17:40
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    @JackBNimble: Plot-twist: Trump is Khan. Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 19:11

The latest people referenced that match our reality were George W. Bush and Tony Blair, shown in the ENT episode Future Tense:

George W. Bush and Tony Blair, time stream.jpg

This was part of a historical database that included Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address.



I'm not sure you could strictly describe the creation of a music track as an historical event, but nuKirk playing the 1994 song Sabotage (by the Beastie Boys) on his Nokia phone would have to be a strong contender.

You can see the London Eye and 30 St Mary Axe (otherwise known as "the Gherkin") in the distant London skyline in Star Trek Into Darkness. They were completed in 1999 and 2003 respectively.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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    This appears to be the uncut digital version, so the creation date of that particular track would actually be much later, probably closer to 2000 or so but I can't be certain.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 15:30
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    The track certainly would qualify. @Valorum's point about determining the exact date of the version is valid. Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 15:38
  • Did the Medical Reference indicate when those elements were discovered? I'm disappointed you felt you had to remove the point about the elements. The criticisms about filling those blanks with any old elements were entirely invalid, as the atomic structure determines what goes where in the table. It would be interesting to know when they were discovered in the ST universe, but as that information doesn't seem to be required by the question, I would judge the point about the elements to be entirely valid.
    – Praxis
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 3:17
  • @Praxis - It was resulting in some unpleasant commentary and downvotes.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 7:31
  • @Valorum, not to reopen the issue, but at least 11 people agreed that putting a wrongly-named element at a location on the periodic table doesn't constitute anything considering there is literally nowhere else to put them. You refused to accept the point. It's like if they predicted an electric car with a 200-mile range but called it the Edison. Not only was the prediction debatably inevitable, but note I asked for something specific. I didn't see any unpleasant commentary, although since the thread was deleted, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume there was. Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 21:55

A (possibly habitable) planet orbiting Proxima Centauri

In the 23rd century, humans colonized a planet in the Alpha Centauri star system:

Between 2078 and 2119, Humans founded an outpost on one or more planets in this system. Among its residents in this formative period was Zefram Cochrane, who moved to the system from Earth after 2069. He left the system circa 2119 for an unknown destination. Prior to 2124, Alpha Centauri City was founded. (TOS: "Metamorphosis"; TNG: "The Neutral Zone", display graphic; ENT: "Future Tense") Alpha Centauri was among the earliest systems to be colonized by Humans in the early space explorations. The other known systems included Terra Nova's system and Vega's system. (ENT: "Fortunate Son", "Twilight") (Memory Alpha)

In the Star Trek univrse, Alpha Centauri is described as a trinary star system, the star Alpha Centauri C is also known as Proxima Centauri. In our universe, it isn't quite as straightforward:

[The Alpha Centauri system] consists of three stars: the pair Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B and a small and faint red dwarf, Proxima Centauri, that may be gravitationally bound to the other two. (Wikipedia)

The discovery of Proxima b was announced August 2016, and is quite possibly in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri.

The PC colony was first brought up in TNG, "The Naked Now," released in 1987. The first exoplanet was discovered in 1988, meaning that a planet orbiting PC was speculation at best.

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    Proxima b is tidally locked with Proxima Centauri. Not inhabitable.
    – Joshua
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 18:20
  • Tidal locking doesn't necessarily rule out a habitable ring on a planet. Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 18:44
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    @AlexMooney: Yes it does. The entire atmosphere freezes out on the back side.
    – Joshua
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 19:36
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    Does this count? Star Trek mentioning an astronomical thing we've speculated about doesn't mean they had to learn about it the same time we did. Unless they say "that planet was discovered in 2016" it could have been discovered anytime in the ST universe before 2078. OTOH if you're saying the Star Trek version of Alpha Centauri diverges from our observations and speculations there's two possibilities: we're wrong because they actually went there; or Alpha Centauri is actually different in the ST universe which indicates a far, far, far, far earlier divergence.
    – Schwern
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 20:13
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I'm not sure if there are off hand references that would qualify past this but I believe the last time there is heavy continuity with what is supposed to be modern day is the voyager episode Future's end The timeline is different then reality in some significant ways but largely the same. So we se 90s earth essentially as it was.

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    Well it does seem pretty divergent that in one, Sarah Silverman is a comedian and in the other she's an astronomer. Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 2:19

Because Star Trek writers sometimes mentioned accurate historical information in episodes and sometimes mentioned inaccurate historical information in other episodes, there is a lot of Earth historical data in Star Trek. And a lot of it is inaccurate.

Since there are lots of accurate and inaccurate historical references in Star Trek* it would be naive to expect that all the accurate historical references are from before a specific date and all the inaccurate historical references are after that specific date, thus making that specific date the date of the moment of divergence. And in fact the accurate and inaccurate historical references are mixed up together over hundreds and thousands of years of Earth history.

Thus Earth history in our alternate universe and the alternate universe of Star Trek have separated and reunited and separated again and reunited again over and over.

The question:

But what is the latest specific person or object or historical event referenced in Star Trek that appears to be the same as in our universe.

I.e. not what is the earliest point of divergence, but what is the latest apparent similarity?

Seems a bit naive. Once two universes diverge, the natural tendency is to drift father and father apart.

It is impossible for there to naturally be more than one point of divergence between two alternate universes. Once two alternate universes diverge, they will never converge to have the same events again.

Since our universe and the Star Trek universe do have multiple points of divergence and convergence, cycling between divergence and convergence, the situation must be unnatural.

Somebody or something is deliberately either: 1) Making the history of our universe (and maybe countless other alternate universes) resemble that of the Star trek universe.
Or: 2) Making events in the Star trek universe (and maybe countless other alternate universes) resemble those in our universe. Or: 3) Making the histories of both universes (and maybe countless other alternate universes) resemble that of a third universe.

So if in the past someone or something has deliberately made the histories of the two alternate universes converge and resemble each other over and over again after points of divergence, that someone or something might do so again in the future.

Thus the question:

But what is the latest specific person or object or historical event referenced in Star Trek that appears to be the same as in our universe.

I.e. not what is the earliest point of divergence, but what is the latest apparent similarity?

seems pointless. Especially since Star trek producers, directors, and writers seem totally oblivious to the obvious fact that Star Trek is in an alternate universe to ours and are going to keep on mentioned historical events accurately and inaccurately, and thus the latest apparent similarity between our universe and the Star Trek universe will have a later and later date in the future.

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    This answer doesn’t seem to provide much of an answer to the question. While it does question the premises of the question in an interesting manner, it should still be possible to determine the latest bit of historical information that matches.
    – Adamant
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 6:02
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    Given that we have a sample size of zero alternate universes, I don't think any of us is qualified to decide what is "natural" for divergent universes. Certainly, it doesn't coincide with an Everettian multiverse theory of quantum physics, but that's not really a big issue here. There's no particular reason reality can't try to "patch itself" into the smallest number of alternate universes possible as a natural law of physics. Then every time the Star Trek crews screw with time, it adds extra timelines that are repaired to some degree or another as they're being added.
    – MichaelS
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 7:03

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