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Old May 6 2009, 12:34 PM   #1
Deckerd
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Science fiction becomes reality?

Apologies if this has already been posted.

4 science fiction writers comment on how the lines are sometimes becoming blurred between fiction and reality.

Link

"Science fiction," said the robot, "has become science fact!"
That's the opening line of one of my novels - the irony being, of course, that the robot is pointing out a marvel (a space elevator, as it happens) while the marvel of a robot pointing out anything at all, let alone enthusing about it, has become everyday in the story.

On a side note, as soon as I read 'space elevator', Tacky immediately sprang into my mind...
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Old May 6 2009, 03:46 PM   #2
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Re: Science fiction becomes reality?

Deckerd wrote: View Post
On a side note, as soon as I read 'space elevator', Tacky immediately sprang into my mind...
Why? Space elevators are a very solid scientific concept that's been around for over a century, and there are currently active efforts underway to develop the technology in real life. We will almost certainly have space elevators by the end of the century, possibly even within our lifetimes. It would be a far more efficient, safe, and practical way of reaching orbit than using rockets, and it would be the key to making space travel truly accessible and affordable. It's been explored in depth in numerous famous works of science fiction, notably Arthur C. Clarke's The Fountains of Paradise (which initially popularized the concept), Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, and David Gerrold's Jumping Off the Planet.
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Old May 6 2009, 04:01 PM   #3
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Re: Science fiction becomes reality?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Deckerd wrote: View Post
On a side note, as soon as I read 'space elevator', Tacky immediately sprang into my mind...
Why? Space elevators are a very solid scientific concept that's been around for over a century, and there are currently active efforts underway to develop the technology in real life. We will almost certainly have space elevators by the end of the century, possibly even within our lifetimes. It would be a far more efficient, safe, and practical way of reaching orbit than using rockets, and it would be the key to making space travel truly accessible and affordable. It's been explored in depth in numerous famous works of science fiction, notably Arthur C. Clarke's The Fountains of Paradise (which initially popularized the concept), Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, and David Gerrold's Jumping Off the Planet.
Not to mention Heinlein's Friday. Point being, it's do-able in the near future. Science fiction becomes reality everyday. I recently found my Nextel 390 in the closet. I remember it as cutting edge-but would laugh, now, if I saw anybody using something like it. Yet, when I was graduating high school I would have said it was "futuristic" or something. "The times, they are a'changing..."
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Old May 6 2009, 04:04 PM   #4
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Re: Science fiction becomes reality?

Gundam 00 makes use of space elevators and in that series they also are used for solar power transmission.
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Old May 6 2009, 04:16 PM   #5
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Re: Science fiction becomes reality?

I read the article you posted and it doesn't say anything about space elevators becoming reality in the near future.
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Old May 6 2009, 04:20 PM   #6
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Re: Science fiction becomes reality?

Follow the links and references. The point is, there's nothing "tacky" or fanciful about the notion of a space elevator. It's as solidly grounded in real physics and engineering principles as anything you care to name.
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Old May 6 2009, 04:24 PM   #7
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Re: Science fiction becomes reality?

I followed the links and references. There's still nowhere stating that space elevators are just around the corner. Creating man-made black holes is theoretically possible and 'grounded in real physics', however I rather suspect that's exactly where it will stay.
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Old May 6 2009, 04:28 PM   #8
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Re: Science fiction becomes reality?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Follow the links and references. The point is, there's nothing "tacky" or fanciful about the notion of a space elevator. It's as solidly grounded in real physics and engineering principles as anything you care to name.
I think it was a reference to the poster Tachyon Shield who often posts strange things in the science forum. At least that's what I'd assume. Though I imagine it would look quite tacky!
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Old May 6 2009, 05:47 PM   #9
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Re: Science fiction becomes reality?

Deckerd wrote: View Post
I followed the links and references. There's still nowhere stating that space elevators are just around the corner. Creating man-made black holes is theoretically possible and 'grounded in real physics', however I rather suspect that's exactly where it will stay.
Not even comparable. That's like comparing a skyscraper with a Dyson Sphere. There are engineers today working on the technology for a space elevator -- not as some abstract pie-in-the-sky theory, but as actual scale prototypes being built and tested in the here and now. There are exactly zero physics obstacles to making it work; the only hurdles are ones of engineering and manufacturing. We have the ability to make carbon nanotubes, which are more than strong enough to allow a cable reaching to orbit; we just don't yet have a means to manufacture them in bulk with consistent quality. The rest is just details of design and execution. Just because you've never heard of a concept that's been known to science for 114 years and taken seriously by engineers for 30 years, that doesn't mean it's fanciful. It just means you're badly out of the loop.
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Old May 6 2009, 05:56 PM   #10
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Re: Science fiction becomes reality?

We are living in Philip K. Dick's future, pretty much. It's not it entirely, but we're damn close.
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Old May 6 2009, 06:19 PM   #11
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Re: Science fiction becomes reality?

The Mirrorball Man wrote: View Post
We are living in Philip K. Dick's future, pretty much. It's not it entirely, but we're damn close.
Shit, and here I was thinking that I'd been living in a yellow submarine!
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Old May 6 2009, 06:23 PM   #12
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Re: Science fiction becomes reality?

middyseafort wrote: View Post
The Mirrorball Man wrote: View Post
We are living in Philip K. Dick's future, pretty much. It's not it entirely, but we're damn close.
Shit, and here I was thinking that I'd been living in a yellow submarine!
Actually, making a parallel between your life and a pop song is very Philip K. Dick!
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Old May 7 2009, 03:12 AM   #13
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Re: Science fiction becomes reality?

From the point of view of TV SF becoming reality - and also not, the BBC series Star Cops is fascinating to rewatch (and yes, I just have, which is why it came to mind).
It was made in 1987, and set in 2027 on a network of space stations and a moonbase and maybe 10,000 people off-Earth. That side of it, which was potentially credible then (just about), is now laughable as a realistic 2027.
On the other hand: it's got the internet right, except that each house has a Big Computer Terminal which seems to be like an old landline phone. Similarly, everyone's got a mobile phone, but the central character's Box (a pocket computer that can access the infonet) is a rarity even in 2027, whereas... well, i-phones.
Also.. there's a super-power rivalry between the US and Russia, which seemed out of date within five years of the original tx. But, at least in the episodes I just rewatched, there's no mention of the USSR, it's all about 'the Russians'.
On the whole, it holds up, even though we're more than halfway from tx to 'happening'.
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Old May 7 2009, 03:26 AM   #14
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Re: Science fiction becomes reality?

Deckerd wrote: View Post
I followed the links and references. There's still nowhere stating that space elevators are just around the corner. Creating man-made black holes is theoretically possible and 'grounded in real physics', however I rather suspect that's exactly where it will stay.


http://gizmodo.com/5053048/japanese-...space-elevator

At the moment the only thing holding it back is that we are not quite there when it comes to having a material strong enough. But the development of carbon nano tubes seems to be the final piece for all of this to come together, which is why Japan is now able to set a time frame on the project.
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Old May 7 2009, 03:53 AM   #15
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Re: Science fiction becomes reality?

^Nanotubes are more than strong enough; the remaining obstacle there is manufacturing them in bulk with consistent quality. Beyond that, it's simply a question of design and execution: making the mechanism that will let the elevator climb the cable, devising a means of supplying power to the cable, doing the work of orbital construction, capturing a small asteroid to use as a counterweight, etc. All challenging, but all entirely within the realm of physical possibility and requiring only hard work and inventiveness to achieve. We could probably do it in fifteen or twenty years if we (or the Japanese) had an Apollo-like commitment to making it happen.
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