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Science Fiction yesterday. Reality today.


Imagine the scene: Captain Kirk is in trouble. He has no weapon and a very dangerous monster wants to kill him. Having no choice he grabs his communicator and immediately makes contact with Scotty who teleports him to safety. In 1967 when the TV show was first aired, such a scene was more than magical. Was completely out of our reach. Kirk was indeed centuries ahead of us not only with tele-transportation but also with laser guns (phasers), starships, communicators and powerful computers that could talk. 

Taking a moment to examine these amazing works of imagination we see that the reality of Captain Kirk is not very far away from our own reality. Only 40 years have elapsed since we first watched the adventures of the Enterprise and we are currently making use of many of the marvelous advancements portrayed in the series.

Take for instance the communicator. This is a quite small device that allowed the crew of Enterprise to talk to anyone aboard their ship or on the surface of a planet. Today, our cellular phones and smart phones make that possible. A person can be reached today pretty much on any point of this planet with a touch of a button or with a voice command. Plus, they are small computers that help us improve our lives with their multiple functionality. 

Computers are another advancement that in only 4 decades we have managed to get quite close to what we see in the Star Trek universe. First of all, mankind`s computing power, today, is incredible to the point where a cellular phone of our days is more powerful than the computer used by the Apollo missions. Our computers are now a vital part of our society. They make our lives much simpler by storing huge amounts of data; they assist us on our research projects and help us to learn; they are entertainment sources and perform complex tasks. Computers enable us to communicate and connect with our friends, colleagues, loved ones and much more.

On the field of medical sciences we employ today techniques and technologies to diagnose and cure deceases that, some decades ago, were far from our grasp.

Even though our society still relies a lot on fossil fuel, many giant steps have been taken in order to secure clean and abundant sources of energy for our species. The usage of solar and wind power are just the most common. Scientists, today, work on experiments with nuclear fusion that will grant access to clean energy.

We have, with our machines, visited the moon and our space probes have currently travelled much further than any other object we ever built. For instance, the Voyager 1 probe launched on 5th of September of 1977, is currently at a distance of 10.45 billion miles from the sun and is today the farthest solar system object (including natural ones). The mission allowed us to travel to distant places and make exciting new discoveries about the nature of our solar system. .

It is only fair to say that some advances are still missing. We still do not tele-transportation, faster than light space ships or clean forms of energy such as the anti-mater reactor of the Enterprise. However, we are getting there. Scientists all over the globe are already developing the first theoretical models that could allow the realization of these amazing inventions. We do live in fascinating times and the next 100 years hold immense possibilities for us.

 

To learn more:

Star Trek Official Site

Star Trek Encyclopedia On Line

Gene Roddenberry (Creator of Star Trek)

NASA Voyager 1 Mission

Nuclear Fusion 

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