2013: No Flying Cars, but Plenty of Miracles

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Another year past and still no flying cars. While everyone’s favorite unrealized invention is still mysteriously absent, Seattle offers several equally fantastical landmarks. With a new year approaching, it seemed appropriate to take a moment to remember the science fiction miracles all around us.

The iconic science fiction landmark in Seattle is the Space Needle. Celebrating its 51st birthday in 2013, the Space Needle was the 1962 Worlds Fair’s monument to the future. At 605 feet tall, the Space Needle promised a world where cities would elevate humanity into the heavens.

The Space Needle rises over the Armory Building on the Pacific Science Center campus.

The Space Needle rises over the Armory Building on the Pacific Science Center campus.

Seattle is still firmly attached to the ground, but the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company offers you the chance to let your imagination soar. The only business in Seattle that provides roof top parking for spacecraft, the eccentric shop has everything you will need to explore space from the comfort of your home. This includes Hubble Space Telescope coffee-table books, The Elegant Universe by Brian Green, a map of the known planetary systems, and t-shirts supporting Pluto’s place as a planet.

The Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company storefront

The Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company storefront

More adventurous souls can take an active role in space exploration with Planetary Resources. This Seattle based company was founded in 2012 by a group of Microsoft and Google executives. The company’s mission is to begin mining Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) for metals such as platinum and nickel. Interested rocket scientists can apply here.

To keep your feet on the ground consider visiting the Museum of Flight’s new Charles Simonyi Space Gallery. Centered on the recently acquired space shuttle training mock up, the gallery also houses a variety of space craft and paraphernalia. You can also explore the complete history of manned flight.

A life size model of a wheel on the Mars rover Curiosity. Holes in the tread help with guidance and spell JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in Morse Code. Thus proving that engineers do have a sense of humor.

A life size model of a wheel on the Mars rover Curiosity. Holes in the tread help with guidance and spell JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in Morse Code. Thus proving that engineers do have a sense of humor.

Other great futuristic museums in Seattle include The Living Computer Museum, the EMP’s Science Fiction Section, and the Boeing Everett Plant Tour.

As we continue to look to the sky for our flying cars, we should remember the miracles that are all around us.  Whether it is the wonder of our imagination or the enterprise of mining asteroids millions of miles from Earth. I hope 2013 continues to bring you surprises and adventures.

Happy New Year!

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The Space Needle peeks over the Belltown Neighborhood. This sketch was drawn from Pier 63/64 on the Seattle Waterfront.

The Space Needle peeks over the Belltown Neighborhood. This sketch was drawn from Pier 63/64 on the Seattle Waterfront.

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Into the Wild Blue Yonder

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A life size model of a wheel on the Mars rover Curiosity. Holes in the tread help with guidance and spell JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in Morse Code.

This past weekend the Museum of Flight in Seattle held a preview of their recently acquired space shuttle full fuselage trainer. While the museum did not win the honor of displaying one of the space shuttles, they received this ply wood mock up as a consolation prize. The trainer sits in the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery surrounded by space artifacts and displays.

The needle of the Concord juts past the nose of the former Air Force One.

Founded in 1965, the Museum of Flight is the world’s largest private aerospace museum. The museum is located amidst Boeing’s many offices and hangers on Boeing Field. Although Boeing is a major patron of the Museum of Flight, the museum is independent of the Boeing Corporation with a collection covering the breadth of aeronautical history. Some particularly interesting aircraft in the collection include a Lockheed Martin SR-71 supersonic spy plane, the Boeing 707 that severed as the first Air Force One and a British Airways Concord.

A F-14-A Tomcat with landing gear detail. Entering service in 1970, the F-14 served as the United States’ primary navel air support aircraft until its retirement in 2006. It is particularly famous for its role in Top Gun (1986) and its use by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

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Want to visit or learn more about the Museum of Flight and its collections? Visit here

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