Saturday, December 7, 2013

Arthur C. Clarke's legacy: space tourism

The University of California, San Diego recognized in its own way that we live in science fiction times in Imagination Gets a Boost with $1 Million Gift.
ViaSat named Founding Partner of Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination in recognition of donation
By Judy Piercey
November 21, 2013
The University of California, San Diego is home to the first and only Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, honoring the vision of "2001: A Space Odyssey" author Arthur C. Clarke. Today, the campus is announcing a $1 million gift from San Diego-based satellite and digital communications innovator ViaSat Inc. (VSAT) that will continue Clarke's greatest legacy: imagination. In recognition of this charitable donation, ViaSat has been named Founding Partner of the Clarke Center.

"ViaSat's co-founders include UC San Diego alumni, and they understand the importance of imagination in seeking new frontiers," said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. "The company's generous gift will help the Clarke Center honor the late author and innovator through cultural, scientific and medical transformations. These occur when imagination is more effectively incorporated into research and our daily lives."

Britain's Sir Arthur C. Clarke, celebrated for his multi-disciplinary legacy in science and engineering, is also considered one of the most inspiring and engaging science fiction writers of all time for such classics as "Childhood's End," "Rendezvous with Rama" as well as "2001: A Space Odyssey." His visionary books and papers have fueled the imaginations and avocations of young and old for more than six decades.
One of his visionary ideas was space tourism, as depicted in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

As FlickFeast wrote, "While still not commonplace, space tourism is a reality."  Another story from illustrates this: How Do You Train to Become a Space Tourist?
By Katia Moskvitch, Contributor
November 30, 2013 12:00pm ET
LONDON — Piloting fighter jets, floating in zero gravity and spinning at a belly-flattening speed in a centrifuge are not the things a regular tourist is asked to do before a dream holiday. But this is exactly what Per Wimmer has been doing during 13 years of waiting for his trip — to outer space.

For the 45-year-old London-based Danish entrepreneur and financier, it won't even be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So far, he has bought three tickets from companies offering space tourism: Virgin Galactic, Space Adventures and XCOR Aerospace.

Wimmer expects to blast into the blackness overhead within the next 18 months, "on whichever rocket becomes available first," he said. When he first found out that private citizens had an opportunity to take a peek beyond Earth's surface, it took him less than 48 hours to pony up the $100,000 to sign up.
My friend Nebris has a shorter formulation of "we live in science fiction times"--SciFi is Now.

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