What about quantum teleportation?
That's one of the things that has happened since the book was first written. Quantum teleportation does for a single atom essentially what the transporter is supposed to do for people. The phenomenon is possible with single atomic states only because of the weirdness of quantum mechanics. If people were quantum mechanical, we could run into walls and every now and then we could go through them. That hasn't happened for anyone I know, but you can try and experiment if you want. So we'll be able to do this for single atoms or molecules but not for Hungarian goulash or people.
How might particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, and its ilk push the envelope on physics as presently understood and perhaps get us closer to Star Trek?
We will no doubt learn more from those machines about the fundamental nature of space and time and matter, and that will obviously help us understand issues that ultimately would be related to everything from extra dimensions to creating exotic energy configurations that we might need for warp drive. There's the remote possibility that at the LHC we might actually discover extra dimensions in space beyond the four that we've measured. These dimensions may even be large enough to fit aliens or other universes in—and from a Star Trek perspective, nothing could be better, right?
What are some potential insights related to Star Trek involving dark energy?
Dark energy produces a gravitationally repulsive force throughout empty space. In fact, dark energy is causing regions of the universe now to move away from us faster than the speed of light, or at "warp speed" in the Star Trek sense. Dark energy is just the kind of thing you need to put behind a spacecraft to make space expand behind it exponentially and make the ship travel faster than light. Unfortunately, as I've written, the impact of this expansion is that the rest of the universe will disappear before our very eyes.
Time travel: Do you think it's possible?
The time travel episodes are about my favorite ones in Star Trek. They often come down to some kind of weird paradox. If time travel is possible then we have to somehow understand how we can build a physical universe in which you can kill your grandmother before you were born.
An example I gave in my book is a wormhole where one end of the hole is moving through space very fast and the other is static. Say one end of the wormhole is moving in a big circle five light-years around, and it takes nearly five years for it to move in that circle. If you're sitting on the fast-moving end of the wormhole, because of special relativity your clock is slowed down, so the whole trip might take just a week. If you then went through the wormhole, you'd come out five years minus a week behind in time. Suppose the wormhole is located two light-years away and you get back at near light-speed, then you can arrive back three years before you left.