NASA Scientists Team Up With Sci-Fi Writers For NASA-Inspired Book Series
Science is truly meeting Science-Fiction over at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. For the last two years, NASA and famed sci-fi publishing house, Tor have teamed up with the hope of creating a new series of NASA Inspired Science Fiction Stories. The program sees notable science fiction writers paired up with some of NASA's finest for tours of the facility titled 'Science Fictions meets Science Fact'. Now, the first product of this most perfect of partnerships is ready for readers.
William Forstchen, author of NY Times Bestseller 'One Second After' this week released 'Pillar to the Sky' in what is the first novel to come out of the NASA/Tor partnership. Forstchen's tale depicts a world in which wars are fought over water supplies and energy, plunging humanity into chaos. Four scientists hold the key to freeing humanity from the grips of an imminent disaster. That key? An ambitious space elevator that could propel human space exploration to new levels.
The Goddard Space Flight Center features heavily in Forstchen's epic tale and the plans for building a space elevator that are detailed in Pillar to the Sky were stringently fact-checked by NASA John Panek. Panek told the Wall Street Journal that there were only minor corrections needed, "stuff that only a space geek would notice," which shouldn't be surprising given Forstchen's lifelong fascination with space. So detailed is Forstchen's blueprint for a space elevator, the author hopes that it will one day serve to inspire the construction of one in the not too distant future.
This partnership with Tor is the continuation of a trend that has seen the Space Agency collaborate with sci-fi entertainment producers. Last year saw space exploration feature heavily in two brilliant movies, Europa Report and, of course the Oscar nominated Gravity. The former, which depicted a manned mission to Jupiter's moon Europa had a heavy involvement on NASA consultants who helped insure that everything depicted in the movie, from the build of the spacecraft through to the clothes worn by the astronauts, was of optimal accuracy. Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity saw a lighter involvement from NASA scientists, but much of Sandra Bullock's inspiration for her role came from conversations with former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman.
You might ask why your tax dollars should be spent on NASA workers consulting with science fiction producers, but the creation of accurate science fiction can play a huge part in future space exploration missions. NASA-isnpired science fiction could help play a massive role in inspiring a whole new generation of scientists and astronauts, something that has been lacking since the end of the agency's golden age, which saw every young boy and girl dreaming of becoming a famous astronaut. If human space exploration is going to remain a priority in the greater public consciousness, science fiction is going to have to be involved, so long may these collaborations continue.