How many bags would you pack for a Martian vacation?
For decades, people have been daydreaming about purchasing tickets to other planets as casually as buying overseas trips. Though we likely have many more years left to go before that dream becomes a reality, the founders of the Museum of Science Fiction (MOSF) just released a mobile app that might help tide over the more impatient space cadets among us.
With the MOSF app, users can generate Expedia-style spaceflight schedules for the Moon, Mars, and our closest neighboring star system, Alpha Centauri. After selecting the most convenient departure and declaring the number of bags you intend to bring off-Earth, the museum, which is scheduled to open in Washington, DC in 2018, will send along your boarding passes.
The app also allows users to create their own space-age "Interstellar Passports," complete with a passport ID number. I ended up being human number 7,243,278,956, with a passport expiration date of October 23, 2115.
That leaves plenty of time to schedule some premium vacations to far-flung worlds, and indeed, the app's collection of retrofuturist travel posters by artist Steve Thomas makes these alien destinations seem all the more enticing.
In addition to this space travel module, the museum's app includes an expansive science fiction trivia game consisting of 4,000 challenging questions, designed to stump even the most devoted fans of the genre. According to Nico Pandi, the museum's manager of external relations, new questions are constantly being added to the game.
"[W]e are planning to add support to Android devices, additional languages, and expand the number of questions in the trivia game from the current 4,000 up to 10,000 by the end of the year," Pandi told me.
The MOSF will also be launching an exhibit about the Future of Travel on July 7 at Ronald Reagan International Airport, and the directors intend to open a "preview" version of the museum by the end of 2015, to test out some of the exhibition concepts that they plan to house at the permanent museum come 2018.
Once it is completed, the full MOSF will become the world's first museum dedicated entirely to science fiction. Given the growing public enthusiasm for this expansive genre, it's great to see it finally receiving such an expansive curatorial setup.
"We are creating one of the most fascinating and immersive museums on the planet," wrote executive director Greg Viggiano on the MOSF welcome page. "Our planners are visionaries. They aspire to create a high-tech, futuristic physical museum that engages its visitors and ignites the imagination."
"Science fiction is the perfect genre for doing just that," Viggiano said. "The history of science fiction lets you step into the future by looking into the past."