Space Scientists Explore Fiction for Novel Ideas ; MOVIE SCI-FI IDEAS THAT COULD BECOME REALITY
Steve Connor Science Editor, The Independent (London, England)
SCIENTISTS FROM the European Space Agency are turning the pages of science fiction novels in the hope of finding new ideas on how to cross the cosmos and explore distant planets.
The agency is asking science fiction authors and readers to submit any suggestions they have come across during their fictional journeys into space that may become the basis of innovative technologies for exploring the real universe.
Suggestions are already beginning to flood in about subterranean habitats on the Moon and Mars, hollowed-out asteroids with a gravity of their own and biological spaceships that can repair themselves.
Scientists at the agency emphasised that the scheme does not mean they have run out of ideas, only that they want to make sure they are not overlooking any potentially useful concepts from science fiction that would otherwise be missed by the space engineers.
"It's not as if they are really desperate for ideas. It's just a creative way of looking for new ones," explained Arthur Woods, a space artist and president of the Ours Foundation in Embrach, Switzerland, which is conducting the study for the agency with the Swiss Museum of Science Fiction in Yverdon- les-Bains.
Patrick Gyger, curator of the museum, said: "They feel there might be something out there and it would be too bad to miss it."
He said there was a long tradition of seemingly fanciful notions in science fiction becoming reality, such as the idea of orbiting communications satellites, which were first outlined in 1945 by the science fiction guru Arthur C Clarke, nearly 20 years before the launch of Telstar.
The agency said the main objective of the study, called Innovative Technologies from Science Fiction for Space Applications, was "to review past and present science fiction literature, artwork and films in order to identify and assess innovative technologies and concepts described which could be possibly developed further for space applications.
"Several science fiction authors have taken modern technology and concepts of their own time and anticipated with some accuracy how new technologies would change our lives, well before these technologies were …
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Publication information: Article title: Space Scientists Explore Fiction for Novel Ideas ; MOVIE SCI-FI IDEAS THAT COULD BECOME REALITY. Contributors: Steve Connor Science Editor - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: July 31, 2000. Page number: 10. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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