Monday, July 4, 2011

Welcome to the AlterNASAverse!

Hello, everyone! I am a child of the 70s. I grew up in a great era for fans of science fiction and fantasy: Star Trek and Star Wars, Doctor Who, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, awesome Saturday morning series, television heroes like The Six Million Dollar Man, and exciting things at NASA with the last Apollo missions to the Moon, the Skylab missions, the Apollo-Soyuz project, and the preparations for the great space shuttle program.

In this blog, I am going to explore the visions of early space travel reflected in science fiction and fantasy. Specifically, I will talk about astronauts and cosmonauts, their missions, the programs the missions were a part of, and the space agencies shown. This is not limited to stuff produced in the 1970s, so there's stuff going back into the 1950s, and continuing to the present.

For example, "I Dream of Jeannie" featured actual space missions of Captains (later Majors) Anthony Nelson (United States Air Force) and Roger Healey (United States Army). They were fictional missions in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. Later, in the era of the reunion movies, now-Colonel Nelson participated in a shuttle mission. And Admiral Al Calavicci---Al, the Hologram from "Quantum Leap", Sam's best friend---was an astronaut on Apollo 8! (Obviously, there are differences between the Apollo 8 mission in our world and that of Sam Beckett.)

Besides the more famous Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Soyuz, and Space Shuttle programs, there are others such as the Capricorn Project (a backdrop for the film Capricorn One), which was to be a series of manned missions to Mars. I'll also explore the agencies---not just the alternate versions of NASA, or the Russian Federal Space Agency, but groups like ANSA, who were responsible for the missions of Taylor and Brent in the Planet of the Apes film series, and the British Rocket Group, whom Professor Bernard Quatermass worked for and which was mentioned in Doctor Who.

The more familiar characters will largely come from television and movies, but I'll also explore radio, books, short stories, and comics. I expect that there will be entries from alternative formats: role-playing and video games; projects for the home audio, video, and computer markets; and the Internet.

So sit back and enjoy the ride!

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