Ever wonder what people in 1913 thought the future would look like? Do you think, with the exception of those creative genius time-travelers like H.G. Wells and Jules Verne) that people could have envisioned smart-phones or self-parking cars? One of the great parts of writing and reading science fiction is that one can peer into the future and imagine what it will be like. More specifically, we can imagine how technology will change. Look at Gene Roddenberry and the Star Trek franchise. How many of his props have turned into everyday tech? There are books actually devoted to how his vision of future tech has come true many, many years before he projected. So what would the world of tech look like in 100 years? Will our children’s children look back at our time and talk about how primitive we were? Most likely. So let’s look at a few items of interest that might just be ordinary objects in the year 2113.
Propulsion systems: In 1913, coal was still the way to go when it came to ship travel. In 2013, nuclear propulsion is old-hand for naval ships but rocket propulsion is still the only method for travel out of the atmosphere. Traveling to another planet is a time and cost expensive proposition, especially when we can perhaps get up to 30% the speed of light absolute speed with space-flight if we try real hard. Various systems have been proposed for faster and more efficient space-travel, including ion-pulse, solar-sails, and nuclear (where one ignites nukes behind the space-craft to propel it forward…. Yikes) Where will we be in 100 years?
This, in my opinion, will be the most explosive (pardon the pun) tech to advance. I believe that we as a species are on the edge of discovering several new forms of tech for propulsion that will allow us to begin a serious exploration of our galaxy if not beyond. Remember that most educated people in the 1400s believed with absolute faith that no one could sail across the vast distances of the Atlantic. As it was, it took over three months to get from the shores of England to the coast of the United States whereas we can now cover that distance with an SR-71 in a little under an hour. That’s a rather impressive jump in efficiency. I’m certain that this will also happen with space-travel in the next hundred years. I can foresee systems that use gravity waves or somehow harvest dark matter or dark energy to produce so-far un-imaginable amounts of energy to propel a space-craft. The biggest hindrance to our own exploration of Earth was the distance and time it took. The same goes for our galaxy. The distances seem so incomprehensible that most people who aren’t Stephen Hawkins can’t even imagine how one would get from point A to point B without constructing Generation Ships that take hundreds if not thousands of years to make the journey. With science fiction, one can always invent such wonderful systems as hyper-drive and warp-drive and hyper-gates and the like…. But are these truly that far-fetched? Join me next week for a continuation of this discussion.