January 11, 2023, at 6:00 a.m. EST The Washington Post’s illustration is by Elizabeth von Oehsen; AP/Mario Suriani; The Everett Collection/Mary Evans/AF Archive/Cinetext Bildarchiv Books Baen; Ballentine/iStock) Comment on this story Comment In September of last year, on a Monday evening, a NASA spacecraft deliberately crashed into an asteroid deep in space. Protecting our planet from the kind of errant rock that could end civilization as we know it was the objective of planetary defense. The craft’s camera sent back footage to Earth of an enormous asteroid growing in size until — pow! — the moment seemed out of this world. impact. It was amazing and trustworthy, jaw-dropping and successful as a proof of concept.

Writers of science fiction did.

In a text message, Georgia Tech regents professor of science influenced science fiction studies Lisa Yaszek wrote, “Crashing big things into celestial objects goes all the way back to the 1930s stories of Edmond “World Wrecker” Hamilton.” To save the rest of the solar system, we throw Mercury at an alien army in “Thundering Worlds.”

Space exploration is experiencing a renaissance as a result of the growing presence of the private space industry in the United States and the fact that several nations’ space agencies have joined NASA in their pursuit of the moon and other deep-space objectives. However, much like the stars that sent their light long before Earth could see it, the creators of science influenced science fiction assisted in igniting this interest wave decades ago.

According to NASA’s Barbara Brown, director of exploration research and technology programs.

“We may envision the outcome we want to achieve through the imagination and influenced science fiction of our team members, or we may be inspired by concepts found in the art.” The rest is then driven by mathematics, science, and engineering.”

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Paul Allen—all space tycoons—have cited a number of literary and cinematic works as the source of their interest in the final frontier. That does not include the visionaries at NASA who enjoy science influenced science fiction.

Tracy Gill, deputy manager for lander ground operations in NASA’s Human Landing System Program, stated, “I have a wall of autographs from Star Wars actors and actresses, and this year I got an autograph from William Shatner.” I attend Comic Con. I’m in deep despair.

Mark Wiese, manager of NASA’s Deep Space Logistics project, watched “The Jetsons” as a child and now watches “The Expanse” in the morning while rowing.

According to Chris McKitterick, director of the Ad Astra Center for Science Fiction and the Speculative Imagination at the University of Kansas, “science fiction has influenced countless scientists, engineers, and technologists to make real the things depicted in science fiction narratives.” “Beyond creating a climate where innovative thinking is acceptable,”

Here is a brief tour of the sci-fi works that were most influential in helping to pave a real-life path to the stars, based on a survey of experts from the Kennedy Space Center to academia:

Space, or even the future, is hard to imagine without thinking of “Star Trek.”

The initial 1960s series served as a source of inspiration for early designs for Zoom, cellphones, desktop computers, and more. Bezos even based Amazon’s Alexa on a shipboard computer from the Starship Enterprise and named one of his holding companies “Zefram LLC” after a character from “Star Trek” who invented the warp drive.

Producer and screenwriter Ronald D. Moore, who worked on “Star Trek: Beginning in 1988, The Next Generation took a tour of the SpaceX craft and couldn’t help but notice how the iconic show had influenced them.

However, there are additional influence layers. He stated, “It was one of the very few scientific shows that says the future will be okay.” We will eradicate disease, racism, and poverty. The hope that these issues will only be temporary motivates me.

The works that Robert Heinlein wrote were revolutionary in and of themselves. He came up with protagonists Yaszek refers to as “creative capitalists,” who leveraged private industry and navigated government oversight to pursue space glory. He used science and engineering to imagine brave new worlds, he overlaid timeless human traits into a futuristic setting, and he came up with characters. Sound familiar?

In “The Man Who Sold the Moon,” the protagonist D.D.

Harriman “creates a coalition of corporations, governments, and media to create the first viable space company,” Yaszek wrote in an email, “and, not coincidentally, to secure the moon as his own private resource, free of government interference.” Inside the rockets that NASA and SpaceX intend to send to the moon. In addition, Heinlein wrote the script for the 1950 film “Destination Moon,” which envisioned a manned trip to the lunar surface less than two decades prior to the actual event.

Not only did Heinlein pay attention to space travel, but he also paid attention to how the public and private sectors worked together. He gave some of his estate to creating the Heinlein Prize, which Musk and Bezos won for their achievements in the commercial space.

The famous Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov, written in the 1940s, centers on a mathematician who discovers a means to avert the demise of an ailing empire. Not only does Asimov’s work contribute to the legacy of the genre, but he also put people in situations where they might be able to solve problems in the future. It’s a call to action that Musk and Bezos appreciated.

Many people consider Asimov and Heinlein to be among the big three.

Writers of science fiction, along with Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who co-wrote the screenplay for “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Based on Clarke’s novel, “A Space Odyssey,”

The story of an astronaut stuck on Mars that Andy Weir first published on his own website holds a unique place in the history of science fiction. In addition to spawning a film starring Matt Damon, “The Martian” sparked a new fascination with visiting the Red Planet and piqued interest in NASA.

Gill stated, “They attempted to grow their own food, which is something we are working on.” It would be categorized as science fiction, but we are really going for it.

Both science fiction and actual space travel have been intertwined.

Moore reminisces fondly about the time NASA contacted him while he was working on the “Battlestar Galactica” series. From the space station, one of their astronauts wanted to make a call. The show was a favorite of his. Moore stated, “It blew my mind.” While real space was outside his window, he was watching fictitious space on his laptop. Garrett Reisman, that astronaut, became a key contributor to the book “For All Mankind,” which imagines a different space history in which the Soviet Union conquers the moon first.

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Science fiction has also gained new respect as space exploration has. Eyerolling has given way to respect as fighting orbital threats has become a real-world exercise. I’ve observed that over the past two decades, they’ve received more praise and criticism.

In addition, they’ve become more diverse. Over the past few years, the sci-fi genre has expanded with the voices of Mary Robinette Kowal, author of the award-winning alt-history novel “Calculating Stars,” and Ted Chiang. Additionally, a number of international authors have joined the elite of science fiction at the same time that space travel ambitions have spread to other nations.Obama stated in 2017 that the scope of it was enormous.

In point of fact, it would appear that the realm of science fiction and space fiction is now as vast as ever. “Science fiction writers and readers didn’t put a man on the moon all by themselves, but they created a climate of opinion in which the goal of putting a man on the moon became acceptable,” Asimov himself stated.

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