The Mars Rover, aptly named Curiosity, landed on the fourth planet from the Sun today. If you didn’t know, now you do. Beyond the obvious research it will conduct, it represents something much greater. In fact, so does the iphone in your pocket, or the replacement knee you just received. These accomplishments of human ingenuity literally make science come alive. And although most advances stir in the minds of scientists, the inspiration began on the pages of a science fiction book.
There isn’t another genre like it. That can entertain people’s imagination and spark an idea. Did you know there are some Star Wars lab geeks working their tails off to create a working lightsaber? Disregard the fact that it’s currently the size of a house. The point is that they are taking something from fiction and working to make it a fact.
That’s power. Writing a story and drawing things from your imagination you simply thought were “cool” to one day have that object invented in reality. Jules Verne, HG Wells, Orson Wells, George Orwell, George Lucas – just to name a few of the innovators. I have to say, as I write this, I am getting more excited for my scifi story on the horizon. The possibilities are endless and yet, something I might imagine while washing dishes could one day be in my hand. Fantasy can’t do that. While it’s plausible, it’s very unlikely to become possible. That’s the beauty of speculative fiction, though. It allows us to exercise our brains and our imaginations to test the limits of possibility.
What might we learn from the Mars Rover? That it takes time for science fiction to become fact, sure. That there’s water elsewhere in the solar system, maybe. The important thing to take away is how powerful the imagination truly is. What is drives us to accomplish, create and believe in.
One person’s fiction is another’s soon to be fact. Anything from scifi that you’re waiting to see become real?