Sunday, June 2, 2013

Where to Begin?

Tonight I was sitting out on my patio enjoying the gradually improving weather and just letting my mind wander.

Rather than going over already established worlds I've built or stories/characters I've woven, my imagination was just loose on the breeze. I surprised my own self by thinking of sci-fi instead of the usual fantasy bent. Not swords and sorcery at all, but star dates and space travel!

I came inside to Google "Star Trek star dates" and wasn't shocked to find out that like many things in the ongoing series, the dates were inconsistent. I can't have that, no sir.

So now I'm sitting here racking my brain about how to do it, what to call it, and what will be the beginning point....

A lot depends on how far in the future this is, and what got us (the run-of-the-mill, bald monkeys known as 'humans') there. I'm wondering if I should go with things that have actually happened regarding space exploration, such as the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the first manned spaceflight in 1961, or the moon landing in 1969. Another idea would be based off the Voyager 1 probe launched September 5, 1977 that to date is the longest running NASA program and the farthest reaching man-made object in space.

If using Sputnik, I could call it FLD (First Launch Date) aka "field date".
The Moon landing could be 1GL (One Giant Leap) which occurred 2:56 UTC July 21, 1969.
If I go kinda Trekkie with it I could add years, months, and days since the Voyager 1 launch. Today's date of 6/2/2013 is 35 years, 8 months, and 28 days (since Voyager 1 launch) would be written as 35/8.23 and read as three five eight point two three - the / is not read, it's only marked to differentiate the year from the month. Or it could be written 35-6.23 where it is read with the "dash".
Since the years would get to be a mouthful, 894-5.12 would sound like "eight hundred ninety four dash five point one two".
It could be VL (Voyager Launch) SV1 (Since Voyager 1) or a combination SVL (Since Voyager Launch).

If I go with the Voyager idea, I could springboard it into a first contact scenario in which it finds aliens or they find it close to its termination period of 2025-2030. The golden record aboard would lead them to contact Earth. This leaves it open for the classic Earth vs aliens kind of story, or I could ride past that and say our interaction with them is what got us the advanced technology needed to vastly improve space travel....maybe even enable intergalactic travel. This would greatly simplify a need to explain in every detail the hard science of how the tech works. Date and time could be measured from launch date, or the first contact date.

Perhaps more significant than when we as a species reached out with Voyager, is when we put us in space. The very first manned spaceflight was April 12, 1961. Using that as the marker for when man literally entered the cosmos, today's date would be stardate 52/1.21. The abbreviation could be FMS (first manned spaceflight). 

Or I could just use UTC (coordinated universal time) which began UTC instant 1 January 1961 00:00:00.000000 exactly. This results in really long numbers though because it counts fractions of seconds.

1 comment:

  1. I am glad to see you entertain the lure of Sci Fi. Welcome to the cool side of escapism. Now, can I sell you a Dragonfly or a Somnium? ;)