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The Force is strong in Denver

Sci-fi fans are giddy about the new Star Wars movie, but for our space-minded students the CGI effects aren’t so far-fetched.

By Mark Cox – Video produced by John Arnold

December 15, 2016

Chewbacca Play

It’s time to start dusting off your light-sabers.

Hordes of sci-fi fans will soon be hot-footing it to cinemas for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” which opens on Dec. 16.

The new movie – an offshoot from the existing seven-part film series – tells the tale of a rebel alliance taking on a much bigger evil army, against seemingly impossible odds. So, pretty much the same plot as all the others, really. But, who cares when the trailer looks so awesome?

And while the movie might seem to feature all kinds of fantastic-looking technology, there’s one thing that MSU Denver students know better than most – the future really isn’t that far away.

Space race

That’s because our university’s numerous forward-looking science courses give students a unique window into the shape of things to come, is why our students’ achievements – such as designing robots for Mars and creating 3-D printers for space stations – are so consistently impressive.

But, the Denver space race is only just getting going. Next summer, the University will take another significant leap into the future with the opening of the Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building.

This new building – where an integrated curricula and the latest technology and labs will be available – offers a huge opportunity for students. And the timing couldn’t be better.

Although Colorado has the second-largest aerospace economy in the nation (it’s home to 140 aerospace companies and more than 400 suppliers of space-related products), it also has a problem – an impending talent drain as an ageing workforce retires.

Future workforce

Put simply, there’s a growing need for homegrown talent, and our students are in a prime position to meet that need. Just think: Future mission control stations could be crowded with MSU Denver alumni.

As President Stephen Jordan puts it, “The aerospace industry is clamoring for educated U.S. professionals who have the skills to build and manufacture state-of-the-art designs for everything from satellites and rockets to robots and renewable energy platforms.”

And once the new AES Building is open, that’s exactly what the aerospace industry will get.
Back in a galaxy far, far away, the Star Wars™ franchise shows no signs of slowing down. There are at least four more movies in the pipeline.

While most of us are watching the sci-fi spectacle on the big screen, some of our students will be working to make such fantastic things a reality. They chase the impossible every week.

Click on the image at the top of the page to watch one of our faculty experts take a tour around the new “Star Wars™ and the Power of Costume” exhibition at the Denver Art Museum (runs through April 2, 2017).

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