Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Space ... the final frontier ...

Today's date in history is now even more significant - especially for Star Trek fans. Today the ashes of Gene Roddenberry and his wife, Majel, were launched into space. Majel died just about 6 weeks ago of complications from leukemia. (I just love the name Majel; that's my grandma's name, my dad's mom, who died a long, long time ago. She didn't have her ashes launched into space though.)

Also on this date in 1967: the Outer Space Treaty was signed into law. That popped up on one of my iGoogle widgets and I was intrigued enough to look into it a little further to find out what exactly that entailed. Come to find out it was signed in 1967 by our country, the U.K., and the Soviet Union and this treaty "forms the basis of international space law". Eventually many, many more countries signed it since then; since January 2007 98 countries became "states-parties" to the treaty and another 27 are awaiting ratification.

After reading that I wondered about the exact date the original Star Trek series debuted, so off I went to imdb.com. I fully expected to find that the TV show followed behind the Treaty being signed. Nope - in fact the show launched over a year before the Treaty entered into force! That surprised me, but maybe I shouldn't be surprised. Anyway, on Star Trek's imdb.com entry was the news item about it's creator's ashes being launched into space today.

So why is all of this so interesting to me? Because I am a HUGE fan of the Stargate TV series, both SG-1 and now Atlantis, although I like SG-1 best. From the original movie starring James Spader all the way through 10 seasons of SG-1, 2 made for DVD movies after that, (Continuum and Ark of Truth) and now the Atlantis installment ... my love of sci-fi television really had it's start with Star Trek: The Next Generation which many people I've talked to feel was the best Star Trek of all. But I'm not trying to start an argument here: since TNG I've gotten into Voyager, but when we ran out of Voyager episodes to watch and we were shopping around for a new TV series to get into, that's when I discovered Stargate: SG-1. That captured my imagination in a way a TV show period hasn't done in a long, long time. I mean, I ate up Voyager - I was really surprised, because I remember when it came out and I couldn't have been less interested in it. But when I sat down to watch it about a year and a half ago ... I couldn't believe I ever passed it up. Captain Janeway became one of my favoritest and most memorable heroes.

Stargate however ... Stargate's appeal is in how much closer to our present day and age it is set. The military representation is one everyone can relate to because it's current. And if you didn't have any respect for the USAF before, you will after watching Stargate SG-1. I got really sucked into it and now I'm not afraid to admit that part of me believes something like that really, truly exists in an underground military station somewhere in Colorado. The idea behind Stargate is nothing short of brilliant - that the ancient Egyptian gods were in fact aliens from outer space who came here to take over our planet. Even in spite of the goofy costumes the actors wore in the early episodes of Stargate, I find that to be plausible. As soon as I got done reading about that Treaty on The Free Dictionary I immediately thought of the episode on Stargate SG-1 where all the world leaders convened to talk about what to do with the business of commanding the SGC. The episode was called "Disclosure" and was from Season 6. Now the premise of that episode was not to sign a Treaty ... but then you have to wonder how much the architects of that episode pulled from our own history, from our own lawbooks ...

At the same time I also believe that I might be wrong. The fact that I believe it might be true simply points to my unyielding hope in what might be "out there" ... or I just have an overactive imagination.

In any event, finding out about that Outer Space Treaty really surprised me. I never knew that existed, not that it was supposed to be a big secret. One thing that isn't secret is all the new technology that gets released to the general consumer public AFTER it gets tested by the United States military and/or NASA.

One really has to wonder. Or at least, I'm wondering ...

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