From the earliest ponderings of our most creative fictional writers, an idea to dream beyond our existing technologies was established to understand what could be from what was not yet realized. We know and love this genre known as science fiction. Today, many science fiction technologies and theories are no longer simply fiction. From airplanes to rockets to the Moon to extraterrestrial life, what was once considered fantastical is now part of our every day lives.
Although we owe much of the development of these existing technologies to applied scientists and engineers, the concepts behind the innovations would not have been possible if not for the creative storytellers who inspired said scientists and engineers to make the science fantasy into a science reality.
Scientists and engineers draw inspiration from a variety of science fiction sources including books, movies, and television shows. Prolific authors such as Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury and television shows such as Star Trek, have provided a foundation for a variety of technologies including the internet, cellphones, 3D printers, tablet computers, electric powered submarines, spaceships, and energy weapons that are still trying to bridge the gap between science fiction and science fact.
The earliest known mention of flying machines was in the Indian epic the Ramayana in approximately the 4th century BCE. These flying machines, known as Vimanas, were described as moving in trajectories similar to the accounts of UFOs in today’s pseudo-media. The Ramayana also references Gods using Vimanas equipped with deadly weapons to fight battles in the sky, a possible reference to today’s fighter jets.
True History (written in the 2nd century C.E. by Lucien) parodies space travel, extraterrestrial life, and interplanetary warfare. So far, human space travel has only gone as far as the Moon with plans to send humans to Mars in the near future. I think it is safe to say that for the time being, we are safe from interplanetary warfare.