The characters of Star Wars may live in a galaxy far, far away, but how close are we to having droids drive us to work or cook us dinner on this planet? Starting May 16, fans can watch a three-day miniseries on Discovery Channel called "The Science of Star Wars" to learn about real-life robots, high-tech weapons and even hot rods of the future.
Here's a detailed look at each special program in the series:
Monday, May 16, 8-9 p.m.
"Science of Star Wars: Man and Machine"
Droids, bots, and artificial intelligence -- coming soon to rule the world. Right now, robots can clean the house, walk the dog, and identify lifesigns in the rubble of an earthquake. Soon, droids will replace astronauts on dangerous spacewalks and may even act as flying astromech droids to people living in space. How soon will it be before your mother has an unmanned drone to figure out what you're doing all day? Forget about Big Brother -- can the school principal use probe droids to patrol the hallways? Hosted by C-3PO and R2-D2.
Tuesday, May 17, 8-9 p.m.
"Science of Star Wars: Space Cowboys"
How soon will we all be driving our own hovercrafts to work? Various vehicles that use air as a cushion to glide over ground or water are still in prototype stages. HyWire cars (hydrogen and by wire) that use a skateboard chassis are here today, complete with technology that allows the car to "sense" traffic patterns or danger ahead. Electromagnetic force charges a train that can go faster than 250 miles per hour without touching the track. What will be the new hot rods of the future? And will they have gonzo paint schemes? Hosted by C-3PO and R2-D2.
Wednesday, May 18, 8-9 p.m.
"Science of Star Wars: War, Weaponry and the Force"
We haven't yet made a clone army, but we're getting there. From the Future Force Warrior (FFW-Army) to the Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton (BLEEX), we are equipping our fighters with clone trooper-like gear. Laser blasters being tested by the U.S. military are directed-energy weapons that use a laser beam to send an electric charge to the object of our disaffections. If that doesn't do the job, the Close Quarters Shock Rifle projects ionized gas or plasma at the subject -- neutralizing a whole group of mobile attackers and killing their electronic ignition getaway systems at the same time. Hosted by C-3PO and R2-D2.
Throughout the miniseries numerous members of Industrial Light & Magic and Lucasfilm, including the filmmaker himself George Lucas, are interviewed along with inventors, NASA engineers, scholars and others about the various technology created to open our minds towards the possibilities of what the future could hold in any galaxy.
"George Lucas really is a space cowboy," Executive Producer Tomi Landis says. "He's a man who is not afraid to think differently from others, and who has inspired generations of inventors. But I was most pleased with the interview with Nic Hoza. At 15 years old, this robot builder and computer programmer is entering the DARPA challenge, to compete with a robot that can travel across all types of terrain. Nic reminds me of Anakin Skywalker, who began his inventing, around the same time!"
Also featured in the program is New Zealander Will MacPherson who scavenges the junk heaps of to build remarkable vehicles.
"He created a hovercraft which floats on a huge cellophane like bubble over the land," Landis says. "It's like a landspeeder, but bigger. These inventors all say they were inspired by Star Wars, and that is at the core of why we decided to do these shows."
More information on this series, including international and HD-broadcast air-times, can be found at Discovery.com.
CLICK HERE for the Discovery Channel commerical.
Dont't forget to also check out: Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith