Six months ago I wrote my second ever blog post, without much hope of receiving more than a few hits. Then the good folks of WordPress were nice enough to Freshly Press me. This was both extremely surprising since I had next to zero experience of blog writing and extremely welcome as it gave me an instant audience of people who share my interests.
The post in question (found here) discussed how many of the technologies found in the Star Trek franchise are not only possible but in some cases are already being used today, a concept that excited my readers for different reasons, whether it be nostalgia for the TV series or because it inspired hope for the future.
But my, how quickly things change in just six months. There have been so many advances in Star Trek technologies alone, its hard to keep up. And that’s not including other more general technology discoveries too. Makes you proud to be human in this lactic galaxy of ours. So, what’s happened in the last 6 months?
In the last article I likened 3D printers to replicators due to their ability to ‘print’ objects seemingly from nothing. One of the criticisms of this was that true replicators (in the Star Trek sense) can make food and drink. Well guess what, how about a 3D printed burger? Scientists were already looking into making transplantable organs by ‘printing’ cells into the shapes of organs, so why not just print a slab of meat to cook for your dinner? US company Modern Meadow are working on doing just that. In the mean time, why not head to London this June where the first lab-grown meat will be served up.
Thousands upon thousands of people across the globe have applied for one way tickets to colonise Mars as part of the Mars One program. The first group are scheduled to arrive in about 10 years from now, after 7 months of space flight (through severe solar radiation which is normally filtered by the Earth’s atmosphere). FYI, they’re still taking applications if you’re interested in joining one of the biggest and most elaborate suicide missions in history. Bear in mind that
if once you reach Mars, there will be no means of return so you’re stuck on the red planet for the rest of your life.
Civilian Space Flight
For those of you looking for something a bit safer but no less groundbreaking, you can now buy tickets for a spaceflight to the upper atmosphere, high enough to see space from space but not so high that you can never come back. So far the flights, offered by Virgin Galactic, are solely for the wealthy and have a varied clientèle of space tourists, from Stephen Hawking to Justin Bieber (hopefully not on the same flight). Tickets are available here for the princely sum of $250,000.
Finally, tricorders are getting closer as you can now buy gadgets to attach to your smart phone to help diagnose illness/disease, with some attachments already FDA approved. I’m sure that on the foot of this, engineers are already working on specially made tricorder-like medical devices to progress from smartphone attachments. The true market for the smartphone diagnoses will undoubtedly end up being for those who prefer self-diagnosis at home. Read more here.
What a difference six months makes. Be sure to check back again in another six months for another update when who knows what will have happened. At this pace don’t be surprised to find yourself browsing it as light reading on a shuttle to someplace far far away…