If you've imagined the good ship Heart of Gold soaring through space in real life, it might not be just a fantasy for much longer. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk might be naming a spacecraft for the famous Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ship. So while it might not be heading the restaurant at the end of the Universe or pre-historic Earth, it would be the company's first spaceship to land on Mars. Which is pretty cool. So will there be other vessels named for science fiction?
Musk revealed the possible new name of the spaceship while answering questions after his address at the 67th International Astronautical Congress. The ship would be one of many that would take potential colonists to Mars as part of Musk's vision of sending humans to colonize other worlds. And while they haven't settled on an official name, Musk says that he does like the idea of "Heart of Gold" — particularly because the ship in Douglas Adams' novel was powered by an "infinite improbability drive."
"I like the fact that it's driven by infinite improbability, because I think our ship is also extremely improbable," Musk explained. He also said that the issue of names is "really hard" but that "Heart of Gold" is his personal favorite. Though, he added, the acronym isn't the best.
Elon Musk, who is also one of the founders of Tesla cars, has said that he thinks that humanity's priority should be sustainable energy — but it seems that as the head of SpaceX, he's also covering all his bases, just in case we really do destroy the planet. The company made headlines when they announced plans to colonize Mars — a project they acknowledge would be very difficult and dangerous.
The whole thing is like something out of science fiction. Which makes it rather fitting that they might be naming ships for counterparts in science fiction.
So will we soon be launching vessels like Serenity or Vanguard or Enterprise into the sky in real life, as well as one camera and in the pages of books?
I for one am down with that future. After all, science fiction does more than entertain us — it also inspires us, and allows us to explore possibilities we might never have otherwise imagined. It is exactly the sort of thing mankind should pay homage to as we race into our very real, possibly inter-planetary future.