Sunday, August 14, 2011

Science Fiction and Reality

WARNING: this post is a bit all over the place. I get a bit emotional thinking about space travel and exploration.

My husband has recently taken a liking to streaming Stark Trek:Enterprise. The theme song/opening of the show is actually really interesting and contains some old footage from our own history of exploration, from ships to planes to space travel. It then jumps into the future and the powerful warp drive that allows the Starfleet ships to travel at speeds faster than the speed of light. It's a beautiful theme song/intro for the show, which takes place 100 years prior to Captain Kirk and Spock. My husband then burst out with something that made me rather... sad.

My husband was commenting on when things would be happening as the intro started talking showing things that would be taking place in the future (the show takes place in the 22nd century). He was making comments like: "If we go off the Stark Trek timeline, that ship, or something like it, will be out in about 20 years!" He continued his little side narration with "and the first ship to travel at warp speed will happen in 70 years!" We were laughing about this, and thinking about how cool some of the stuff we see in science fiction is, when it kind of hit me. THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN!!

Okay, maybe never is a strong word. It could possibly still happen. There's nothing saying it won't or can't happen. It's just... With the defunding of NASA, who knows where space exploration is really going to head? NASA has to stopped manned spaceflight, and is actually going back in time to the days of unmanned spaceflights.

I have to say, this is a bit depressing. I have seen the photos that the Hubble telescope has captured. My husband and I actually spent time on day while at the Kennedy Space Center watching the Hubble video, where they show you just how detailed the photos are, and how we are able to see into solar systems far outside our own. The beauty and majesty of these solar systems, and how the universe seems to be this whole mess of perfectly ordered chaos makes me truly believe in God. It's like the gardener theory. You walk by a garden every day, and you always see it looked pretty and cultivated. What other conclusion could be reached logically other than the existence of a gardener?

Without NASA, many things we use in our daily lives would not be around. First off, we would not have Tang, the modern water filter, cordless power tools, scratch resistant lenses, and so much more. Just do a google search on "NASA innovations" and the lists seem to be endless!!

Yet here we are, cutting funding to the program that has not only provided us with the basic technology to have and use cell phones, but has also inspired many to dream.

When the space program first started, the original 7 were actually test pilots that were put through a rather grueling set of tests to take note of their strength, determination and courage. They were also chosen for their lifestyles. All were married men who could potentially set good examples for the youth. John Glenn especially fit this particular requirement, and was often the leader of the group when it came to how they would handle themselves in the public arena. They were the first astronauts ever.

While man has always been fascinated by the stars, Chinese astrologists actually recording supernovas MANY years before scientists ever determined what a supernova even was, the actual process of saying "Yes, we want to go into space" started roughly in the 1950's. People became fascinated by the ideas of heading up there and seeing things not from our planet. Science fiction novels started appearing on the market, and not long after, we had the creation of shows and movies till popular today. The original Star Trek released in 1966. Three years before we even landed on the moon. Eight years after we landed on the moon, George Lucas released the first of his Star Wars films.

There is so much I wish I could say on this subject, because it's one that truly fascinates me. Here are some sites that I found interesting while doing research for my Space History class when we covered Walt Disney and his contributions

My husband would also think me to be remiss if I didn't include certain books that can also teach a lot about the history of the space program here:
  • A Man on the Moon by Andreew Chaikin
  • This New Ocean by Willian E. Burrows
  • The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

So I have to say, I was greatly saddened by the fact that things will probably be on hold when it comes to space exploration for many years. Sure, private sectors can do a lot. But most of them are out for a pure profit. Not for the betterment of society. I have to wonder if we will ever see a future with anything similar to warp drive or phasers or anything we see in science fiction. That makes me very sad, having always hoped for a day when we can actually travel through space. I would love to be able to see the moon up close.However, with the way things are going now, I'm not really holding my breath.

1 comment:

Katie P. said...

My hubby and I went to Kennedy Space Center for our wedding anniversary and it was especially sad cause they had the star trek exhibits. It was pretty much showing us a future that is dwindling away to never becoming a reality...

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