Martian returns home: Native-born astronaut spent 185 days on Red Planet

WORCESTER, July 20, 2069 — Worcester’s first native-born astronaut was welcomed back to her hometown yesterday with a parade and the Key to the City. Dr. Riham Ahmadi, a veterinarian, was crew member on the recent Ares 11 mission, which returned from Mars after a 22-month voyage.

The parade, featuring Unum-sponsored hovercrafts and antique internal-combustion-engined cars from the late 2010s, left the campus of WPI on Salisbury Street, and proceeded south on Main Street to City Hall.

“This is truly a great day for the city of Worcester,” said Massachusetts Gov. Amy Collins during a speech on the steps facing City Hall/Commerce Bank Plaza. “As our nation’s space program moves forward, Dr. Riham Ahmadi adds her name to the list of astronauts who light our way with their courage and scientific integrity.”

As the governor, Congressman Paul Tyson-Burgess, family members, and spectators looked on, third-term Mayor Shanique DeTorres presented Dr. Ahmadi the Petty Memorial Key to the City.

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Non-Starter Home: ‘Smart’ house tangles data, holds College Hill family hostage

WORCESTER, Jan. 7, 2046 — A young family living on Worcester’s College Hill is what they describe as “trapped by their home,” unable to move out because the essential bioinformatic data stored within is non-transferable.

Steve and Rosa Wingartner met at the College of the Holy Cross, and married soon after graduation. They decided to stay in Worcester as Mrs. Wingartner attended the Deval Patrick Law School at Worcester State University.

“All our friends joked that we were doing the old-fashioned thing,” said Mrs. Wingartner with a laugh. “Less than a year after graduating from college, we were married and had purchased a house.”

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The house they purchased was a medium-sized ranch off of College Street. “It was a flip job, everything inside was brand new, and the price was too good to beat,” said Mr. Wingartner. To sweeten the deal, Juniper Construction had added a basic-level bioinformatic — or “bi-fo” — panel to the home.

Dateline 2049 — Worcester HQ keeps firefighters safe across the country

WORCESTER, Dec. 3, 2049 — On this Friday night in December, as firefighters from a dozen different cities rush into danger, they have guardian angels in Worcester working tirelessly to keep them safe.

Worcester is home to the nation’s first Firefighter Research and Monitoring Extraction System, or FRAMES. Begun in 2044, FRAMES is used by more than 300 fire departments around the country and will soon expand its Skyline Drive headquarters.

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FRAMES is the brainchild of Drs. Stephen Cho and Ling Wang, who first met while studying Fire Protection Engineering at WPI in the 2030s.

“As undergrads, we helped to improve wearable, bendable biosensors that would monitor respiration rate, blood pressure and heart rate,” Wang said.

“For our Master’s project, we interned with the Worcester Fire Department and tested heat-resistant, fast-deploying drones to triangulate the exact location of firefighters within a building. The next step, for our doctorates, was to send that information back to a neutral location to collect, analyse and inform,” Wang added.


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What if … Worcester: Dateline 2044 — Delivery drone crash tests school’s new safety dome

“Three men in unlabeled khaki jumpsuits took photos, meticulously collected every last bit of debris, and placed them into containers. Then the van drove in the direction of the General Electric Turnpike on-ramp. Later that evening, the Worcester Fire Department arrived to inspect for damage to the 61-meter-high dome. Six firefighters strapped into recently donated Martin Enterprises fan-powered jetpacks, which were developed in the firm’s new South Worcester Industrial Park headquarters.”

What if … Worcester: Dateline 2047 — 2Jane starts school at Gateway Elementary

“After the accident, the MacConnells worked with biotech startup CloLabs in Westborough. It was just the seventh successful (neonate living beyond 30 days) cloning procedure in the United States. The scientific and legal process was documented in the reality web series, ‘Jane and Jane Again’.”

Dateline 2027 — Free flights to Havana? United Delta joins USA-Cuba alliance to make it happen

SUNDAY, OCT. 17, 2027 — United Delta Airlines wants to bring you to the warm, sunny Caribbean for the low, low cost of free.

Beginning tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., Delta United will open its lottery for free tickets from Worcester International Airport to Havana.

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The Cuba-U.S. Tourism and Exchange Program, or CUSTEP, known informally as the “Cuba Libre” plan, was the brainchild of Cuban Ambassador Jim McGovern and Cuban Tourism Minister Roberto Knowles. It’s been in the works since the election of President Frederico Torres and the normalization of U.S.- Cuba relations in 2021.

“After six years of negotiations, we’re extremely happy to be able to partner with Delta United Airlines to allow American citizens to explore Cuba,” reads a joint press release from Ambassador McGovern’s office, the State Department, and the National Institute of Mental Health.

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