Stars and Sci-fi

As part of UW-Milwaukee’s Geek Week 2017, the UWM Planetarium got to geek out over iconic science fiction moments with Stars and Sci-fi.

The event began with a live demonstration of Uniview. The software gave us lovely views of Earth, Venus, Jupiter and more before zooming out to take in the entire Milky Way.

The program then began with a compilation video of memorable sci-fi moments including shots from Star Wars, Star Trek, WALL-E, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

We explored how the technologies of classic sci-fi inspired the technology of today. For instance, it is said that the communicator as featured in Star Trek inspired the design of the 1996 Motorola StarTAC, the first flip phone. The notorious Hal 9000 of 2001: A Space Odyssey is said to have inspired Apple Inc.’s Siri.

We also examined how sci-fi imagined the future. The 1902 film A Trip to the Moon imagined people reaching the moon via a huge bullet fired from a giant cannon. 67 years later we used rockets to land on the moon during Apollo 11. Countless works of sci-fi involved humans getting into contact with aliens and planets outside of our solar system. This mirrors our own attempts to contact other worlds with a recent development being the discovery of three potentially habitable Earth-like planets around TRAPPIST-1.

We rounded the event off with an indoor stargazing session featuring Leo, Gemini, Orion, and other fan-favorites.

We can’t wait for the kinds of things sci-fi will think of next as well as all the technologies that will be inspired from them.