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Space Oddity

docoflove1974

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So, NASA is ending an era with the last space shuttle launch. The 'nauts linked up with the International Space Station, there was good cheer to be had by all, and down here we're supposed to lament and cherish this last bit of space exploration by us 'Mericans for a bit. Hmmmm.

 

Let's face it, I grew up at the very end of the Cold War, so this 'Space Race' stuff is beyond me a bit. Oh, sure, I love sci-fi movies and stuff, and would love to get a chance to see the earth and everything else from space. Mine is the generation that grew up with "Star Wars" over "Star Trek," but we all knew that space was cool because NASA told us so. Like Captain Kirk told us (actually, told our parents initially...we just got it in re-runs), space is the final frontier. But at the same time, I never understood the big hubbabaloo. I mean, so the government doesn't fund space exploration...so what?

 

Now that I'm an adult, I'm glad that Sir Dickie Branson and other rich folk are taking up the slack. Isn't that the next step to what we saw in "Total Recall?"

 

Now, on a different note...with the fog and the few high clouds on this beautiful summer day, we're set up to have a gorgeous sunset. I've got a half(ish) moon to gaze at, and perhaps some constellations. Wonder if the Vulcans are watching us?



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I'm very much rooted in the "Star Trek" end of that timespan so, as you've pointed out, my generation very much saw the pushing of the frontiers into space as a sign of mankind advancing and maturing as a species. I'm also in possession of a very adventurous nature, so it's hard for me not to see this (along with the grounding of Concorde and resultant end to supersonic passenger travel) as indications of stagnation.

 

However, this is a very Americano/Euro/Western-o centric view. The Russians and Chinese are proving that the space race was much more of a tortoise & hare thing and, taking up the mantle that was dropped by the Americans, are continuing to push the envelope space-wise . . . and India is looking promising. Maybe this is the first sign that mankind as a whole is not stagnating after all. It's just that some lights are fading, just as other lights are starting to burn more brightly. We as enthiasts of the Roman Empire should know all about that.

 

As a footnote, it's great that Mr Branson et al are keeping the light burning for the western hemisphere, but probably wouldn't be saying the same if that role was being undertaken by Rupert or James Murdoch. The thought sends shivers down my spine.

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You're right, most of space exploration was simply another theater of national rivalries, and one of the principle nations doesn't even exist anymore.

I feel if we are to continue space exploration, it should be funded jointly by the developed nations of the world. Share the costs and the benefits.

 

On the whole, though, I think we need to spend the money down here on this planet.

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You're right, most of space exploration was simply another theater of national rivalries, and one of the principle nations doesn't even exist anymore.

I feel if we are to continue space exploration, it should be funded jointly by the developed nations of the world. Share the costs and the benefits.

 

On the whole, though, I think we need to spend the money down here on this planet.

 

I fully agree. The industrial age promised endless progress but we know better now. Excepting IT&C there was no significant technological breakthrough since the postwar era. Space is a deadly desert that is very expensive to reach without any realistic purpose so I am totally in agreement with Al Murray on this - the part after 4:10

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUdaPNXC_68&feature=related

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GoC, I do understand the adventurous spirit and zeal of exploring the unknown. But maybe it's part of my generation (of Americans, at least), and it seems that many of us are interested, but know that there are so many problems down here that need our attention. And, hey, the tortoise made out pretty well, right?

 

Kosmo, a question for you: I know that since Romania was part of the Soviet bloc, you probably got more of that version of the story growing up. But what is the attitude of Romanians about space exploration? Has it changed over the years? I'd be curious to compare it to the Western Europe/American attitudes.

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GoC, I do understand the adventurous spirit and zeal of exploring the unknown. But maybe it's part of my generation (of Americans, at least), and it seems that many of us are interested, but know that there are so many problems down here that need our attention. And, hey, the tortoise made out pretty well, right?

 

My thinking was that, in the space-race tortoise/hare metaphor, the USA was the hare, and the Chinese (etc.) the tortoise.

 

But will those problems ever be solved, one way or the other? The choice seems to be between a 'race of beings with insoluble problems', or a 'race of beings with insoluble problems, that have been into space'.

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Space exploration and colonization played an important part in communist propaganda because it fitted their ideology very well; it was a vast industrial project that involved scientific and technological solutions and it had a peaceful facade but some interesting military applications, so it made good propaganda for their futuristic utopia.

Soviets believed they were winning the Space Race and unlike other areas of competition they were not hostile to the US space program that often got favorable media coverage.

Romania was somewhat involved with the soviet efforts and a Romanian astronaut traveled to Soyuz space station and then became a major propaganda figure http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunariu

I can't tell how interested were people at the time in space exploration but it was a major media topic so growing up (without Star Trek) I believed space exploration and colonization will be an important thing in our lives.

Now Romania is becoming part of ESA this year but there is no enthusiasm about it and this is a wise attitude given the existing budget problems.

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The reason space exploration has failed to conquer the hearts and minds of the world beyond the odd salt sucking monster and green skinned conquest of Captain Kirk, is that no-one has profitted. Once people can exploit space commercially or illegally, that'll change dramatically. There's this woolly headed idea that Man will conquer space and hug space aliens forever more, but let's be honest, where explorers go, commerce hitches a ride.

 

Do I sound a bit dismissive? Maybe that's because Captain Kirk gets more girls than me. Life is so unfair :(

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Yeah, I'm about ready to go into space to look for attractive space babes, because all the women down here on planet earth just keep getting more obese.

 

Come on, Caldrail, let's get our own shuttle and boldly go find some green skinned babes in mini skirts.

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You're right, Caldrail . . . it's a sad truth that nothing seems worthwhile doing unless there's a montery gain to be had at the end of it. That's why Universities are losing so many science degree courses and gaining so many Media, HR, Hospitality, Golf Course Management (etc.) degree courses.

 

PS Dr. McCoy gets more girls than I used to, let alone Captain Kirk.

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Feh...you boys are all the same. You'd rather go for hot alien chicks than stay here at home...FINE...be that way! :D

 

Just for that, I'm gonna go for some hot Klingon hunks...I mean, they appreciate a voluptuous Earthling babe...and those ridges are a big turn on.

 

Hmmmm...now that I think of it, maybe that's why I much preferred Capt. Picard to Kirk...Picard was focused on the task at hand, not chasing alien skirts.

 

Ahem...er...back to reality.

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