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Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
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NASA Jumps on Star Wars Bandwagon
20 May 1999 7:00 pm
Why go see interplanetary travel in the movies when the real thing could be just around the corner? In an 18 May press release, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, talks up its own research on propulsion technologies--"closely akin to the 'hyperdrives' of Star Wars fame," it says--that could someday make planet hopping a reality.
And you thought George Lucas had cornered the market on Star Wars tie-ins. "Laser propulsion and antimatter have long been the stuff of science fiction, and now we're experimenting with them as viable options for space travel," states Garry Lyles, manager of Marshall's Advanced Space Transportation Program. Adds Marshall's George Schmidt, "We're convinced that ... these technologies will likely transform the space travel seen in sci-fi movies into real-life experience."
The space agency didn't actually have any breakthrough to report. And the press statement dutifully notes an important caveat--that traveling faster than light "will ... require overcoming the physical limitations of space itself." Nonetheless, the release, nicely timed with the 19 May release of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, scored a PR bull's eye. Officials say numerous TV and print outlets have picked up the nonstory, giving it a little propulsion of its own.