Don’t Annoy the Vulcan and Other Lessons at KSC’s “Sci-Fi Summer”

Article written: 15 Aug , 2011
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida is looking to take guests where no one has gone before. During the “Sci-Fi Summer” that is going on now through September at the Visitor Complex guests can see, sit and experience actual artifacts that appeared in the hit TV series and motion pictures.

With a smirk and a wink, Lt. Cmdr. Hawk guides guests on the tour of the exhibit. Photo Credit: Alan Walters/awaltersphoto.com

Guests are greeted by two Starfleet officers; today they were Lieutenant Commander “Hawk” and T’Lanna. Both of whom were part of Starfleet’s temporal division. The fact that they were in the 21st Century and escorting guests around appeared to be a sore point with them – but more on that later.

Your other guide is T'lanna - knowledgeable - but has a bit of a temper. Photo Credit: Alan Walters/awaltersphoto.com

Throughout the Visitor Complex were items from the Star Trek Franchise. The original TV series was represented by the bridge of the Enterprise. Contained within the IMAX building, also has the portal from the original series episode “City on the Edge of Forever.” That is just a small part of the display that is spread throughout the Visitor Complex. One can even find the Scorpion Attack Fighter from Star Trek: Nemesis.

Subtly, here and there the operators of the complex show how science fiction and science fact are tied together. One in particular is a display showing size comparisons between Star Trek vessels and modern spacecraft including the International Space Station and the Saturn V rocket. This allows guests to see how fantasy relates to reality.

“There has always been a kind of synergy between science fiction and science fact, especially with the Star Trek franchise,” said Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Public Relations Manager Andrea Farmer. “We wanted to highlight and honor this – which is one reason we decided to extend the exhibit past summer.”

For both fans and non-fans alike, the exhibit is an addition that makes a trip to the Visitor Complex all the more entertaining. Just heed this advice – be nice to the Vulcan…

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17 Responses

  1. Is actually very interesting to note just how much of our current tech is related to Star Trek. I just wonder if and how much secret tech that the world has that has been developed due to the Sci-fi community and how close we really are to the Star Trek world that we see in the series and movies.

    I’ll always remember one show I watched about high tech where the now former head of Lockheed said something like this, “that they had created stuff that made the X-wing look like an antique.” That got me really wondering just how far we have come without the governments of the world letting us become “technology shocked” from just how far advanced we really might be.

    It is said that a people are actually working on the Warp Drive theory and have made progress! That we have found anti-matter and even have a means to contain it, but for mere seconds! This makes me wonder just what might be revealed if all of the hidden tech of the countries throughout the world were put together and shown to all.

    Maybe, we are actually living in the Star Trek time now and only those in the highest places even know this. If so, what are they actually afraid of, us knowing this tech exists and them not using it to benefit the world or possibly a darker secret, like the one that President Reagan hinted to during one UN conference, saying something near this, if I remember correctly, “that the world might united if an alien power were to attack or about to do so.” I truly hope it doesn’t have to come to that to see what tech we really have.

    We may never know in my life time just what are the true technical advances that we have, but at least we are allowed to dream still when seeing the Sci-fi series and movies of a possibly better life for all in the future.

    Live Long and Prosper.

  2. Neil says

    T’Lanna is great <3

  3. HeadAroundU says

    Star Trek. What else?

  4. HeadAroundU says

    I don’t like your thinking. Where’s ‘don’t like’ button? 😀

    I doubt that anything would shock you. If anything we are living in economic crisis time and not Star Trek time. 😀 We can’t even build growing colony on the Moon. That would be impressive, not some military rocket that crushed into ocean.

  5. Torbjörn Larsson says

    This is a case where the cultural referents rubs me all the wrong ways. But obviously something fictional can be worked into something useful.

    just how much of our current tech is related to Star Trek

    Such as?

    It is true that some of the imagined technology, which was invented as good plot devices (“transporters” to cut away expensive and unneeded transition shots, say) have inspired experiments. But it isn’t current technology.*

    It is said that a people are actually working on the Warp Drive theory and have made progress

    The main progress with Alcubierre’s warp drive was to prove that it wouldn’t work. You would need another way to get transluminal in the first place; no such way exist by relativity “no go”.

    That we have found anti-matter and even have a means to contain it, but for mere seconds

    That is a century old hat! Anti-matter was discovered as a theoretical possibility by Dirac 1928, and observed by Anderson 1932. (Which gave the latter a Nobel prize.) [Wikipedia.]

    However, this year an intriguing possibility was verified. Planetary magnetic fields has now been observed trapping antimatter from cosmic rays hitting their atmosphere. Since it is a large field, it makes up for the lousy production rate. Earth magnetic field traps something on the order of micrograms (see the Bickford paper, which would have to be revised with the observations), with a production rate of ~ 1 ng/y or so. Jupiter would likely improve on that.

    Trapping even some of that with an actual sci-fi device, a stationary version of the Bussard scoop (same link), would in principle make powerful rocket engines possible.

    But yes, they have to lick the storage problem. The current record is on the order of ~ 1000 s for ~ 100 – 1000 neutral antimatter atoms. Atoms is not what the scoop would produce, too.

    ————————
    * I have a few years gap to say that. Especially cloaking technology makes strides, and it looks like the possibility to cloak objects from making audible echoes are closest to being realized.

    Now if they had an actual proposed use for that, it could even be nifty! =D

    • Anonymous says

      Some of the peripheral technologies of Star Trek have been realized. The communication devices of the old Star Trek are not that different from flip cell phones. McCoy performed surgeries without radically opening up patients, and now surgeries are often performed with fiber optics and small systems which penetrate the body through small holes. There are some aspects of the tri-corder that exist now. The teleportation device is a lab system which quantum teleports quantum states, though not of course large things.

      The big stuff has not happened. The warp drive most likely will not happen. This sort of spacetime effect violates various conditions which prevent general relativity and in particular quantum sources of curvature from going haywire. The teleportation may permit one to take an entangled state and send it to some ancillary state, but this is a far cry from the sort of thing that Scotty would use to send people to planetary surfaces. We are also at best a long way from the sort of large scale space travel portrayed in this screenplays.

      LC

      • WaxyMary says

        If during transport via entangled states or via the Star Trek method was possible– and the recording the event is made with all the ‘patterns’ involved would we also be able to play back the recording and create duplicates of the item transported?

        The short story collection titled Venus Equilateral by George O Smith posits just such an occurrence. As the matter duplicator takes form there is the ethical and moral quandaries you might expect. These are handled fairly well for the times the author lived within and that projected future of the story settings.

        It is sad the ST world rarely addresses any of those questions re the food duplicators or transporters being used.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_Equilateral

        Mary

      • Anonymous says

        The duplication of quantum states is forbidden. We could well imagine that if we have a two state system, such as spin up and spin down, we could duplicate these two states |+> and |-> as

        |+> — > |+>|+>, and |-> — > |->|->.

        This means that a superposed state |?> = (1/sqrt{2})(|+> + |->). We may apply the above rule to the duplication of individual states which means

        |?> — > (1/sqrt{2})(|+>|+> + |->|->),

        or we can duplicate the entire state which means

        |?> — > |?>|?> = (1/2)(|+> + |->)(|+> + |->)

        = (1/2) (|+>|+> + |->|-> + |+>|-> + |->|+>)

        Quantum mechanics does not tell us which of these applies in the case of cloning quantum states. If QM has some rule which allowed us to apply one over the other this would mean that contextuality is an aspect of QM, where there are deeper theorems, such as the Kochen-Specker theorem, which say this is not so. As a consequence since the two possible cloning of states are not equal this is then a contradiction. Hence cloning of quantum states is impossible.

        The duplicator technology on Star Trek, which I think started with ST-NG and not the original 1960s series, is then not completely possible. Of course the above argument involves Xeroxing quantum states, but something like duplicating a meal (what it is often used for in the series), or for that matter a human being, can’t be done exactly.

        LC

      • Anonymous says

        The whole transporter concept in ST is about as wildly outrageous as one could possibly imagine. It would have been easier to believe if it were described as operating similar to a warp drive to transport the person somewhere fast, but decontructing someone into an energy beam, sending the beam a large distance and precisely recontructing them back into matter elsewhere? I would be with Dr. McCoy and would never step on such a device since it sounds like I would be killed and some duplicate of me would carry on instead. The reality of the matter is that the creators of the show did not want to waste time endlessly showing the cast clambering on and off shuttles whenever they had to go somewhere. Warp drive of course is not something that an individual star ship would have the capability of powering by itself. The amount of theoretical negative energy required would likely require collecting an enormous amount of solar output to power it. This would mandate a gate type device in a fixed position that could only be used once in a while.

      • Anonymous says

        The whole transporter concept in ST is about as wildly outrageous as one could possibly imagine. It would have been easier to believe if it were described as operating similar to a warp drive to transport the person somewhere fast, but decontructing someone into an energy beam, sending the beam a large distance and precisely recontructing them back into matter elsewhere? I would be with Dr. McCoy and would never step on such a device since it sounds like I would be killed and some duplicate of me would carry on instead. The reality of the matter is that the creators of the show did not want to waste time endlessly showing the cast clambering on and off shuttles whenever they had to go somewhere. Warp drive of course is not something that an individual star ship would have the capability of powering by itself. The amount of theoretical negative energy required would likely require collecting an enormous amount of solar output to power it. This would mandate a gate type device in a fixed position that could only be used once in a while.

      • Member
        IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE says

        I would be with Dr. McCoy and would never step on such a device since it sounds like I would be killed and some duplicate of me would carry on instead.

        Also, that ‘clone’ would have a completely blank memory: “Who am I? Where am I? How did I get here? WTF am I doing here, anyhow?”

      • WaxyMary says

        Also, that ‘clone’ would have a completely blank memory: “Who am I? Where am I? How did I get here? WTF am I doing here, anyhow?”

        I like the image you conjure with your words [email protected]

        However…
        If you posit the absence of self identity being transferred, i.e., the self of memory, then the ‘person’ transferred would also not share a common language, the ability to walk, grasp, eat… all of the tasks of human and mammalian ‘rote learned’ memory. Whether it is muscle memory or spinal memory or some other form of ‘learned by rote’ memory, then the person would not have that without also having the memory of self continuity which actually imposes that desire in its domination of any memory settings. It is not like you learn from your dreams by rote, drilled details can give you the tools to plan a solution but it takes the ‘self within and without others’ to effect any solution even within any group effort.

        Automatons can only respond as they are taught by rote, humans and indeed it would seem, all mammalia groups with social interactions, seem to draw out that determination to go beyond the rote for ourselves.

        Of course, my actual question or point was that ST in any shape or form has never dealt with the actual questions of ethics and the human condition.

        The result in ST of a simple energy to matter being created within a food duplicator, is never dealt with much less the over-arching principle of what can any fiat currency be worth when that which underpins it can be created at will; items such as gold, silver, platinum, iridium or some other metal group of choice with which to pin a proper currency becomes readily available via duplication on demand.

        Initially even if the energy required to create this ‘new’ wealth was acquired with ‘old’ wealth, then the balance of internal transactional accounting would be screwed as well as the ability to interact with other interdependent issuers of fiat currency.

        Dupes mean downfall under current human conditions.

        Mary

    • Tom says

      You must be a hoot at parties.

    • Tom says

      You must be a hoot at parties.

    • Anonymous says

      There may be some truth that reality resembles art with star trek or that the show did a great job of anticipating some future techs 50 years ago. The really big things indeed are not going to happen such as warp drive. There was an episode in the original Star Trek where Scotty admires as an antique an Ion engine powered ship who’s crew goes on to steal Spock’s brain. Such propulsion is a reality now although not quite on that scale yet. The future may well use antimatter propulsion however. A few years back when antimatter was first found trapped in Earth’s magnetic fields (antarctic balloon experiment as I recall) I posted on this website about a future where autonomous anti-matter collection stations would be sent in advance as refueling stations to planets/stars with large magnetic fields to support future space travel along interstellar travel routes. I am glad to see the notion is being taken more seriously this time. It would make finding interstellar wandering brown dwarfs and gas giants more of a priority. Also a great opportunity for piracy and science fiction novels based on that theme.

  6. Anonymous says

    Vulcans don’t *do* ‘annoyance…’

  7. Been there, done that! Some pretty cool stuff on display if you’re a trekkie. And the Vulcan was pretty sweet to me. 😉

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