- Sara Thompson
Making Science Fiction into Science Fact
By Sara Thompson
Special to the Enterprise
Science fiction has been around for centuries and has been used as a form of entertainment with fanciful and seemingly outrageous topics. It is a topic that continues to entertain and is a genre that will likely never disappear. Even though the topics in these stories are often farfetched, it doesn’t stop some from turning parts of science fiction into science fact.
Our night skies have been sources of stories, studying, and mapping for as long as we have been able to mark images on rocks, likely even before. Our imaginations can also dream up countless worlds, galaxies, and inhabitants of these places to create colorful and fantastic stories. Inspired by these stories and by seeing birds fly, mankind has tried to become airborne. Some as simple as using fabricating wings from leaves, all the way to building countless varieties of machines. Finally, in 1903 the first flight was completed by the Wright Brothers. From here our flight capabilities grew exponentially and we were able to set foot on the moon just a few decades later in 1969. Space travel is still one of the more popular forms of science fiction, but modern scientists and engineers are still inspired by these stories and continue to develop technologies for us to travel to other planets, and perhaps to other galaxies.
Scientific and technological advancements do not need to be groundbreaking such as space travel. Some everyday items have also been created by science fiction inspiration. In many science fiction stories both in novels and on screen show people interacting with computers and technology just by speaking to it. Computers in general are already a technological masterpiece but being able to simply speak to it to perform a task is a more recent development. Many of us have home or phone assistants that we simply ask a question, and we get an answer. Even the ability to store music on our phones or other music players was inspired by science fiction when characters in shows could access any song they desired from a limitless cache of music.
Most modern robotics have also started as inspiration from science fiction stories. Beginning as simply metal men, robots in science fiction have countless varieties, as many as our imaginations can produce. Human-like androids have also been included in stories, being almost indistinguishable from people. Many modern robots are used in factories and production, but engineers and scientists are making some for the home as well. Robotic vacuums are becoming more popular to help keep our homes clean. In recent years, engineers have been trying to develop robots with a human appearance.
We are still a very long way away from many of the technology and science required to do the things found in many science fiction stories, but we will continue to be inspired and entertained by them.
Exploit's coming events:
• Limited spaces available for our Summer Science Camps for those entering grades 3-6. All camps run from 9am-12pm Monday-Friday and will have both indoor and outdoor components. Price is $175 Members/$200 Non-Members. Register for summer camp at https://www.explorit.org/camps.
• Explorit is open to the public on Fridays from 1-4pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-2pm. Admission is $5 per person. Explorit Members, ASTC, and those age 2 and under free. Explorit strongly encourages all guests above the age of two to wear a mask while indoors.
• A Membership to Explorit not only supports us but grants the recipient free visits to Explorit’s regular public hours, discounts on events, summer camps and workshops, and gives you ASTC benefits to visit other museums throughout the world. To purchase or for more information visit https://www.explorit.org/membership or call Explorit at 530-756-0191.
• Like many small businesses the closures have had a significant impact on our income and sustainability. Now is a great time to donate and help Explorit continue to educate and inspire the scientists of tomorrow: https://www.explorit.org/donate.