Saturday, May 11, 2013

Futurology and How Science Fiction Influences the Future of Technology.

Modernism has always has had an important roll in evaluating and analyzing different cultures in the 18th and 19th century.  This sudden rise of technological and scientific ability raises many questions about ourselves as a species, but also questions about our morality and ethics as a species.  In Metropolis we can speculate about the different metaphors Fritz Lang tucked away in his film about technology and the questions that reflect back to the old German question of lebenphilosophie (philosophy of life). However, instead of including rockets in his film Metropolis, he later developed another film called Frau im Mond which translates to The Woman on The Moon, which shows Germans concurring space travel and venturing out into space to explore the new celestial object (the moon). One of the most important rocket movements before the Kennedy space race originated in the Weimar Republic.

Frau im mond

Figure 1: The Poster from FritzLang Frau im Mond

However, scientific and technological advancements could not have taken place without the help of imagination. In this case, science fiction imagination, which takes its form from one of the fathers of science fiction Kurd Laßwitz, who is one of the most influential German science fiction writers of all time.  His novel Auf zwei Planeten (on two planets) is one of the first novels that depicts man as species that has the ingenuity and intellectual, capacity to leave earths gravitational pull and venture into space to spread the human species further into the solar system.

This extraordinary picture of the future that Kurd Laßwitz paints of the human species ability to transcend worldly problems and venture into the heavens. Is the type of fiction that influences great visionaries such as Max Valier, Fritz von Opel, and Herrmann Oberth to develop the first rocket cars, rocket propelled aircrafts, and the first Zeppelins.

Figure 2: One of the first rocket cars by Opel and Valier
rocket planes
Figure 3: An depiction of the Zeppelins first international flight travel across the Atlantic ocean.