Friday, September 4, 2009

The Future Has Arrived.....well, sorta.

You hear the boarding announcements as you enter the queue. Folks heading out to Sea Castle, Brava Centauri, and Mesa Verde better hurry up as their respective flights are leaving. Of course, there’s only one destination for you and that’s of course, the future. As much as your own flight is amazing and fanciful, there’s always that wonder of the other destinations as well as the trip getting out there. So, are we destined for those destinations or will they always be held in the imagination of George McGinnis? Guess what? They’re no longer visions of the future. Tomorrow’s Horizons are here, today! Here are a few glimpses that reach toward the future to bring you a tangible Horizons experience.

Mesa Verde - The most advanced desert reclamation complex in the western hemisphere invites you to explore its wide range of career possibilities. Mag Lev Express service to Mesa Verde leaves every thirty minutes.

“Our little girl is doing wonders out in the desert.”

Mesa Verde was the vast stretch of desert that was slowly beginning to take shape as food producing farm (is that orange I smell?) of the fabled L’oranges (lime + orange). This show scene illustrated new methods in agriculture can bring barren deserts to life.

How exactly are we to turn deserts into fields? Enter Desert Control. Desert Control uses the latest advancements in desert reclamation technology to bring food producing plants to life.

Desert Control is turning deserts into Farms

The main challenge to making deserts sustainable has to do with sand. As you know sand is a loose particle that is susceptible to wind and terrible at moisture collection. What Desert Control does is treat the sand with a substance called Nano Clay. This clay packs the sand together to form dense pieces of land that maintains moisture and is less impacted by wind storms. In turn, seeds can be planted and crops grown. Currently, Desert Control is holding tests in Africa and Asia, both which have some of the largest non-fertile deserts as well as severe food shortages.

NanoClay helps to retain moisture & protect from wind erosion

Brava Centauri - Newest of the exciting Centauri Series of space stations. Offers remarkably rewarding opportunities in Earth support locations. Come up to Brava. Space shuttles depart daily.

“Mom, mom!”

Living in space, what an experience! Unfortunately, on this world of over 6 billion, only a handful have done it. But imagine the possibility of taking summer vacation in a fully habitable synthesized space city. Here, we get just a few glimpses what traveling past Earth’s atmosphere to sleep among the stars.

Well, that’s still pretty far away for most of us. But, with advancements in the International Space Station’s tenure in space at least we are giving it the “ole college try”.

There’s also another possibility.

Virgin Galactic, owned by billionaire adventurer Sir Richard Branson, aims to take folks on an interstellar joyride. Albeit, a short and expensive joyride (~$200,000 US for a 2.5 hour flight).

How does it work?

Well, 6 passengers and 2 pilots will board SpaceShip Two and be connected to the Virgin Galactic mothership WhiteKnight Two. WhiteKnight Two will take the passengers to about 50,000 feet (~9.5 miles) above sea level. From there, SpaceShip Two will undock from WhiteKnight Two and fire up its engine to reach altitudes in excess of 360,000 feet (~68 miles) above sea level. Once the trip is complete, SpaceShip Two will use the Earth’s gravitational force to safely glide back down. To put things in perspective a normal NASA space shuttle mission can reach about 350 miles and most commercial flights travel ~35,000 feet (~6.5 miles). That being said, 68 miles above Earth is nothing to scoff at.

For $200,000 I would expect a little style and this has it.

I can see my house from here!

Virgin Galactic is not yet commercially available and is cost prohibitive to most of us. Also, there’s another reason this may be out of reach for awhile; all maiden voyage reservations are completely sold out for first year of operation.

Sea Castle - The newest and most exciting floating city in the Pacific invites you and your family to come away with us to the sea. Convenient daily departures by sea train and skylift.

“How often do we check our gills? Every 10 minutes.”

Or more often.

Arguably the coolest set of scenes in Horizons, sea life civilizations depicted what it would be like to travel in your own sub down to your undersea house, restaurant, or office. I like to think this was so popular due to the fact that the sea was something everyone was familiar with. You didn’t have to hop on a space shuttle, you just had to drive to the beach. Plus, everyone loves the sea.

In relation to the above destinations, undersea resorts are abundant with more being drafted as we speak. While the first resorts were somewhat primitive and needed all parties to be scuba certified, new resorts are more advanced and offer conveniences similar to that of five star hotels.

Deep in the Emerald Lagoon of Key Largo, Florida sits Jules Undersea Lodge named after the grand old man himself, Jules Verne. The resort actually is the La Chalupa research laboratory created to research the continental shelf off of Puerto Rico’s coast. It was purchased in 1995 and renamed Jules Undersea Resort. This 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom resort sits 30 feet below the surface. Look around, it has all the creature comforts of home as well as scuba room service from a “mer-chef".

Notice the "5 Fathom Club" sign? Nice.

Ugh, I always get a room right next to the pool.

Spacious eatery. Reminds me of my freshman dorm.

I don't feel like going out tonight. Let's stay in.

If you’re more about luxury and less about diving check out the Poseidon Resort Mystery Island off the coast of Fiji. This resort takes passengers to their underwater “pods” by elevator (think Living Seas’ Hydrolaters) 40 feet below the ocean’s surface. Once on the ocean bottom the guest will have the option to stay in one of 20 standard pods, a luxury suite, or a themed-suite, as well as, bars and restaurants. Rumored pricing starts at $30,000 US for a party of two per week, or rent the whole thing for $3,000,000 US per week. Slated to open in early in 2010, Poseidon is already 15 months past schedule. But, its postponed opening gives you a chance to save your pennies. Also, if you are staying 40 feet below the ocean for a week do you really want them to cut corners?

They look like escape pods.

What's that fish starring at?

And then there’s Hydropolis.

Hydropolis is slated to be a vast undersea luxury resort in Dubai (hey, it’s all Dubai these days) 66 feet below the Persian Gulf. There isn’t much information on it as of yet, but rumor has it will cost about $5,000 US per night. There are also rumblings that Hydropolis is in talks with Disney to produce an underwater show for the resort. This resort was supposed to open in 2006, so take it all at face value.

It looks like the spaceship from the Abyss.

Hmm, that veranda looks like the Living Seas.

These are just a few of the prophecies told by Horizons (an attraction that was designed in the late 70’s mind you). Try googling things like Mag Lev and Hovercar and you’d be surprised how much you can find. Not to mention the countless automated products already found in your home. Hopefully, we will continue along the path of Horizons to make the world more enjoyable.


Photo Credits are of their respective parties.
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