Where Science Meets Imagination in Chicago

September 28, 2007

Explore the space fantasy technologies depicted in the Star Wars films, the real science behind them, and the current research that may someday lead to remarkable real-life versions of these technologies at the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit, now at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry from Oct. 5, 2007 – January 6, 2008!

Some of the cool things you can do at the exhibit include:

  • Jump to lightspeed and tour the galaxy in a full-size replica of the Millennium Falcon cockpit.
  • Experience the feeling of riding in a personal hovercraft, while learning about what transit of the future might be like.
  • Help build a spaceport and discover how to create a successful collaborative environment.
  • Experiment with magnetic levitation and robotics.
  • Test your own speeder and droid.

See more than 80 props, models and costumes from the Star Wars movies and extensive video interviews with filmmakers, scientists and engineers.

Get more information about the exhibit here.


George Lucas Talks Tech in the Classroom

September 19, 2007

Education has always been important to filmmaker George Lucas, as is obvious with Edutopia, a magazine and Web site published by The George Lucas Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization that encourages the merge of education and technology.

At Salesforce.com’s annual user conference — Dreamforce — Lucas said in his keynote speech that resources are short at many public schools and often times teachers are perplexed with how to properly utilize the computers that companies donate.

cNet News reports:

Edutopia‘s focus is to help instructors learn how to organize a class, using technology to enhance the experience. Google Earth, for example, could be used to teach geography to students, Lucas said.”Don’t use the computers to teach Word Perfect…use them as a tool, like a pencil, to help the educational process,” Lucas said. He cited an example of having students build an airplane using a computer program, which, in turn, draws on their math skills.

“They learn math because they have to, if they want to build the plane,” Lucas said. “At some point, every kid will turn to their parent or teacher and ask them, ‘Why do I have to learn this? Why is it relevant to me?'”

Read the rest of this entry »


Send R2-D2 to the Moon?

September 13, 2007

According to a recent post on Wired News:

Google will award $20 million to the first private team to put a robot on the moon, the company and the X Prize Foundation announced at Wired NextFest in Los Angeles Thursday. Members of the public will also get the chance to send digital mementos to the moon. In this advance from the October issue of Wired magazine, contributing editor Spencer Reiss explains what’s behind the Google Lunar X Prize, and what it will take to win it.

Read all about it here:
Google Sponsors Lunar X PRIZE to Create a Space Race for a New Generation

I’m looking at you R2 Builders! HINT HINT

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SOURCES:
Wired News, CNN.com, BoingBoing.net


Good Thing We Don’t Have Two Suns

September 12, 2007


(Tatooine’s twin suns)

According to The New York Times, astronomers are announcing that they have “discovered a planet that seems to have survived the puffing up of its home star, suggesting there is some hope that Earth could survive the aging and swelling of the Sun.”

The newly discovered planet is a gas giant at least three times as massive as Jupiter. It orbits about 150 million miles from a faint star in the constellation Pegasus known as V 391 Pegasi. But before that star blew up as a red giant sometime in the past and lost half its mass, the planet must have been about as far from its star as the Earth is to the Sun — about 90 million miles — the astronomers led by Roberto Silvotti of the Observatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte in Naples, Italy, calculated.

Dr. Silvotti said that the results showed that a planet at the Earth’s distance “can survive” the red giant and he hoped the discovery would spur searches for more like it. “With some statistics and new detailed models we will be able to say something more even to the destiny of our Earth (which, as we all know, has much more urgent problems by the way),” he said in an e-mail message.

Read more about it here:
Earth Might Survive Sun’s Explosion
(NY Times registration required)

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SOURCE
The New York Times


Star Wars Phones in the Future?

August 30, 2007


(Photo: AFP)

Who needs a cell phone when you can send a holographic message — without an R2-D2 unit? Japan’s Hitachi has recently developed a lightweight 3-D display that can potentially be adapted for mobile devices such as phones.

The 1kg gadget, using what is known as stereoscopic vision display, and resembles an upside-down, multi-angular pyramid full of mirrors on top of a liquid crystal display.

“I’d like to see the technology eventually applied to mobile phones, so people could see images three-dimensionally from their handsets,” Rieko Otsuka of Hitachi’s Advanced Research Laboratory said.

Read the full article here:
Star Wars phones not far away

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SOURCE:
Brisbane Times


Chewie Hands off Lightsaber to NASA

August 28, 2007


(Photo: Bonnie Burton/LFL)

Luke Skywalker’s original Jedi lightsaber film prop from Return of the Jedi makes its way into space (for real) with NASA astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery in October. To commemorate the historic event, Star Wars characters visited the Oakland International Airport where Chewbacca handed the lightsaber over to NASA’s Space Center Houston during a special ceremony on Aug. 28, 2007.

Arriving by Escalade and Hummer stretch limos (the Falcon‘s in the shop) Boba Fett, Jango Fett, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, X-Wing pilots, Jedi and stormtroopers (from the Golden Gate Garrison of the 501st Legion) accompanied Chewie for the fun-filled press event which took quite a few travelers and tourists in baggage claim by surprise. NASA’s Space Center Houston Director of Marketing Roger Bornstein greeted the intergalactic guests and warmly thanked everyone’s favorite Wookiee for bringing him Luke’s lightsaber.

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May the Flight Be With You

August 27, 2007

As Star Wars celebrates its 30th Anniversary, Luke Skywalker’s original Jedi lightsaber will head into space with NASA astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery in October. Chewbacca will officially hand the lightsaber over to NASA’s Space Center Houston during a ceremony at the Oakland International Airport, Aug. 28, 2007.

The ceremony will include characters from a galaxy far, far away including Boba Fett, Jango Fett and X-Wing pilots, Jedi and stormtroopers. This will be followed by a spectacular departure aboard a Southwest Airlines flight as Chewbacca and his galactic friends help push back the airplane on the tarmac.

Stay tuned to the Official Star Wars Blog for more on the special event.