astral projection is an expansion of consciousness. we dont actually leave our bodies, our consciousness expands.
i did hear about scientist who have created these types of machines. seeing as how this was your first time "astrally projecting" in the dream world, this was a pretty neat way of experiencing it.
The Future of the Mind book by Michio Kaku really gives good insights where the human species could very well be moving with the science and consciousness in the future.