Science Fiction, a Bridge from Fantasy to Reality
Fantasy versus Science Fiction versus Reality - If man (or woman) can dream it, we can surely make it someday!
Back in 1865 when Jules Verne wrote his novel De la Terre à la Lune (From the Earth to the Moon), who could have known how close Verne's science-fantasy actually came to today's reality? It's amazing really, that a 19th century Frenchman could come up with an idea so far-fetched yet, today, proved to be so ahead of his time. In From the Earth to the Moon, the Baltimore Gun Club, saddened by the end of the American Civil War and the end of opportunities to test their ballistic capabilities, decide to design and build a cannon to shoot to the Moon. Despite the lack of solid research in the field of rocketry and space travel, Jules Verne managed to calculate angles, trajectories, and velocities so closely, modern scientists are impressed with the accuracy of his figures. Today, the things Verne only wrote about have actually come to pass; maybe not exactly the way he described them, but close enough. Mankind has fired a rocket into space, we've been to the moon, we've taken pictures, walked on, and brought home souvenirs.
But this isn't really about a lone Frenchman with ideas ahead of his time, it's about the human spirit of creativity and invention, and the determination and ingenuity to make fantasies into realities. For every new theory or new idea, there's a period of time where it exists solely in the realm of fantasy; untested, unproven, and impossible except in the mind of the inventor. Something that's never been done before, never been made before, never been tried or tested - an idea from the Great Unknown. Humans have a knack for teasing the truth from the fiction, seeing the possibility behind the fantasy, and inventing things using our ingenuity and a tenuous link between what we've already done, and what we only THINK is possible. We've created an entire process of dreaming, creating, testing, and refining our ideas. Every day someone dreams up a new invention, or comes out with a shiny new version 2.0! Always taking a step forward.
Humanity's ingenuity is truly amazing! We draw inspiration from so many different sources, and pull ideas together in innovative ways to continually generate new inventions.
In Greek mythology, Daedalus built wings for himself and his son, Icarus, using the wings of birds as inspiration. In 1000 B.C.E. the kite was invented in China. In 1899 the Wright brothers built a kite they could steer (also inspired by the wings of birds), as part of their early experiments with guided flight. By 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright had perfected their steering, and went on to make the first sustained and controlled flight of a powered heavier-than-air flying machine. In 1930, drawing inspiration from the inventors who came before him, Frank Whittle invented the jet engine. Later, 1939 to be exact, Germany's Heinkel 178 aircraft is the first fully jet-propelled aircraft to fly. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin had the honor of being the first man in space in 1961, followed by the first man to orbit the Earth, American John Glenn, Jr., 1969 saw the first men to walk on the moon: U.S. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. In 1981, NASA launched the first reusable spacecraft, the Space Shuttle Columbia. The first two modules of the International Space Station were launched and assembled in 1998, and made ready for her first crew to take up residence in 2000.
Man's desire to fly, which may have started as someone's daydream or fantasy, inspired others and through discovery, inventiveness, and ingenuity has gone from fantasy to science fiction to reality.
Carynn Weber, Dynetics
OTHER PAGES ABOUT SCIENCE FICTION
Explosion blasts Moon from orbit! The Science of Space 1999 was hazy at best. So hazy in fact, that famed astronomer Issac Asimov actually wrote an article that criticized the show’s scientific accuracy. Those lucky enough to have watched Space 1999 during its original run in the mid-'70s, lived in a world where moonbases, cool spaceships, and laser guns were only 20 years away.
Eureka TV Show Science fiction. In Syfy’s original series Eureka, U.S. Marshall turned Sheriff, Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson), maintains order in the fictitious high-tech town of Eureka, Oregon. The unknowing scientists of Eureka were horrified, had U.S. Government had weaponized the Moon? During the Apollo 11 mission (July 21st, 1969) 2 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong placed a 2-foot wide panel covered with 100 mirrors on the Moon’s surface pointing at Earth as part of the “Lunar Laser Ranging Retroreflector Array” project.
Star Trek TNG, Star Trek the Next Generation, We may not be able transport anyone by 'beaming' them up like on Star Trek, but we do have touch screen instrument panels in the form of tablet computers, and web cams that can display video and audio conversations seamlessly around the world.
The Lost in Space TV Show's first season saw the Robinsons crash landing on an alien world named Priplanis, where they worked to repair the Jupiter and survived a series of adventures and encounters with other life forms. The show hewed closely to the original Swiss Family Robinson, emphasizing the struggles of a pioneering family trying to survive in a strange environment.
Like any good superhero, Space Ghost had his fair share of super villains to contend with, all with evil intent. The most feared villain was Zorak, a 7-foot-tall green mantis. The Hanna-Barbera series titled "Super Ghost" ran for 42 episodes until 1968.
When Robert Heinlein first sent his new novel, Rocket Ship Galileo, to publishers in the late 1940s, they all rejected it. The very premise of the story -- a manned trip to the moon -- was simply too absurd to be taken seriously at the time.
In science fiction, alien spaceships take many forms. There's the Klingon Bird of Prey, the Cylon Base Ship, and the Borg Cube. However, aliens allegedly seen flying over Earth seem to all be shaped like saucers.
Space Stations in Movies: The Death Stars easily rank as the most iconic space stations in the movies. The Earth-orbiting space station created by Hugo Drax in the James Bond film, "Moonraker," had an equally nefarious purpose.
A couple of space stations on TV - Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine - managed to overcome the drawbacks of being stationary and provide dramatically satisfying science fiction entertainment.
There have been many spaceships on TV over the last 60 years. These ships have battled countless alien species, taken us where no one has gone before, and formed a ragtag fugitive fleet in search of Earth.
Spaceships in the movies have a long and varied history. Beginning with the Buck Rogers serials of the 1950s, cinematic spaceships have taken us to the planets, on star treks to distance worlds, and to a galaxy far, far away.