Back To Schedule
Saturday, April 27 • 1:00pm - 1:50pm
Star Trek and NASA: Fifty Years of Inventing the Future Together

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

Feedback form is now closed.
Even before NASA and Star Trek existed, filmmakers looked to the aeronautical industry, organizations involved in rocket experiments, and astronomers to aid them in depicting flights to other worlds. The Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials treated audiences to journeys in rocketships to meet up with those “new civilizations” we’re so familiar with today, with both good and bad results. Movies such as Frau im Mond and Things to Come primed us for more adventures beyond the Earth with productions like Captain Video, Tom Corbett, Destination Moon, Forbidden Planet and countless others. Art departments (with wildly varying budgets) designed sets and props and spaceship models. The practice continued with Star Trek, which first aired over fifty years ago, and barely eight years after NASA itself was formed. This presentation will examine many of the concepts developed for Star Trek, both human and alien, with particular emphasis on their scientific and technological plausibility, even in the 24th century. Developments in real launch vehicles, space stations and distant planetary spacecraft have all inspired the look of their future versions. Research into new materials and processes, medicines, sensors, computers and energy systems have likewise driven the look of future handheld equipment. While the real world has been quickly catching up to what we have designed in the Star Trek universe, we continue to learn and ask questions. And imagine.

avatar for Rick Sternbach

Rick Sternbach

Space and Science Fiction Artist
Rick Sternbach has been a space and science fiction artist since the early 1970s, often combining both interests in a project. His clients include NASA, Sky and Telescope, Data Products, Random House, Smithsonian, Analog, Astronomy, The Planetary Society, and Time-Life Books. He is... Read More →

Saturday April 27, 2019 1:00pm - 1:50pm MDT
SF Panel 1