Science Fiction

I love a good space opera, as longtime readers may have gathered. True Fact: I was the youngest person to ever get a library card in the county where I still live, at least on the date that I got it (I was four), and the first thing I checked out was something called Five Against Venus. (Poor Venus. It seems unfair.) I ate and drank this kind of thing for years; when Star Trek finally showed up, I was one of the people saying “Damn! What took you so long?”

Only I am sixty-something now, and even though I just rewatched the fifth season premiere of Babylon 5, and have a couple of Star Trek novels in the hopper, I have this misgiving: well: we evolved at the bottom of a 6000-kilometer gravity well that embraces and cudgels our bones and flesh every second, subject to the daily visitations of the Sun and the light and traction of the Moon, suffused with the electromagnetic field of the planet. The absence of any of these — experimenters have studied the effects of living on the space station, or of the extinction of dawn and dusk cycles — alter our immune systems, our hormone ebbs and flows, our experience of existence.

My juvenile passion yearns for a future in which, should we choose, we might venture into the galaxy with only splendid engineering between us and stellar coronae. The gut feeling I get when my knees are on the wet dirt of my back yard — or when early light outlines my windows — makes me wonder if the human organism can survive without the suck and massage and lightshow issuing from the planet and its place in the solar system.

Maybe we need to learn what binds us to our home before we leave it.

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11 thoughts on “Science Fiction

  1. Once we get to the point where we can leave, at will, that question will be important. Now… I can’t even afford a flight to the U.S. to see those I love. If someone gave me free reign to visit the stars the only issued have is what to do with the furry ones.

  2. Not that long ago, the thought of carrying a small and efficient computer with you everywhere was still science fiction, now we just call it a phone.

    I believe we will see humans reach for another celestial body quite soon. I’m not decided as to what ‘soon’ means here. I think we have all the technologies by now, we just need someone to put them together correctly and use them efficiently. No government is currently to this state of leadership, but it sounds like a couple of private projects might end up being the answer I am looking for. Let’s see where it brings us!

    Have a very happy new year, dear friend. May 2015 brings you what you’ve been looking for to accomplish your personal projects.

    • And a happy 2015 to you as well. I’ll say I’m ahead on personal projects if I can get my newly moved-in beau’s kitchen gadgets off the sun porch in time for warm weather…

      I think we have the technology to get our bodies into space; it’s an obvious extrapolation, but do we know what it is we need to duplicate about our home planet in order for our bodies to function over the long term? and can we? think of the sailors who got scurvy because they didn’t know they needed vitamin C. And how long it took to genuinely understand what the problem was.

      • I get your point, but unlike the sailors, we know a thing or two. We’ve had men in the space station for a while now. Not assuming we know everything, but I suppose we’d be able to manage the small findings that we’re going to make over the first few years of beginning this adventure. I love sci-fi too, please don’t tell me the dream was all for nothing 🙂

        • I think about the EM field of earth, which I think is going to affect even the space station — that of the Sun, too. And the pull of the nearby planetary bodies. It’ll intrigue me if I live to see anyone researching the possibility that we have to duplicate the effect of those for long term space travel, too.

          Every generation thinks it knows a thing or two — I’m still fuming at the doctors who didn’t believe washing your hands could be important.

          • Lol at washing hands! Just to make things clear, I don’t follow this convention of judging or comparing generations. I don’t pretend we’re better because I’m younger than you are. I do read a lot, as you know, and science and space travels are among my interests. Based on my readings and my believes, I think we have all the technologies, they really just need to be poor together, and likely engraved a bit. I don’t think nothing more will ever be invented, far from it, but for the purpose of teaching for the starts, that is.

            Yep, the radiation belt is still a challenge. I believe what it takes to go through that now, but that’s one topic that is not discussed often. At least the NASA doesn’t want to talk about it, do they?

            The idea of an artificial gravity had always been quite important in sci-fi, but it’s rarely considered in actual science. It’s feasible, but I guess we haven’t been aiming for far enough to actually consider it. Even MarsOne isn’t considering it in their current plan.

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