Nyack, NY, March 21, 2008 Science and science fiction alike lost a legend this past week with the passing of Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Credited with introducing the concept of communications satellites in 1945, Clarke also wrote more than 30 non-fiction works and dozens of short stories and novels. Although most remembered as the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Clarke was a staunch advocate of personal space flight. In his December birthday message, he predicted that, "Over the next 50 years, thousands of people will travel to Earth orbit and then, to the Moon and beyond." He also said that he believed a "Golden Age" of space travel was just beginning.
Rick Tumlinson, left, talks to a live holoscope feed of Arthur C. Clarke, during The Clarke Gala, 2001, sponsored by the Space Frontier Foundation. Clarke has been a friend of the Foundation since it's inception in 1988.
"The vision of the Space Frontier Foundation grew out of the work of several great men, especially Robert A. Heinlein, Gerard K. O'Neill and Arthur C. Clarke. We were very fortunate in our early years to have the advice and assistance of all three. We have since been saddened by their loss, each in turn," said Space Frontier Foundation Executive Director Will Watson.
"Arthur C. Clarke's passing marks the end of an era that began when thinking about humanity's future in space was pretty much limited to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, then passed though the heady days from Goddard through Apollo, and ended at a time when our shared dream of a free and open frontier in space has been repeatedly postponed and mired in bureaucracy. Through it all, Sir Arthur remained an optimistic visionary that many of us were proud to follow," Watson said.
Space Frontier Foundation co-founder Rick Tumlinson echoed Watson's sentiments.
"The world has lost one of this century's greatest visionaries. Clarke shared our Foundation's dream to permanently settle outer space and it is our task now to carry that common vision forward in his honor."
A special tribute to Arthur C. Clarke will be held at the Foundation's conference, NewSpace 2008, in Washington D.C. on Saturday July 19.