View Full Version : Christopher Columbus vs. ESA

2005-Jan-15, 08:47 AM
I am totally awestruck at these pictures that we're seeing in the other threads. So much so that I don't know if I'm going to be able to sleep well tonight. Somehow I feel like I'm part of something huger than has ever happened, even though Im just an observer. It just hit me today as all of this was going on. The explorers of today are doing things that completely dwarf the accomplishments of legendary explorers like Magellan and Christopher Columbus. I know, it sounds like the ultimate "duh" statement, but truthfully this stuff happens nowadays and it barely makes the front page. Yet, we spend months in history classes learning about these great explorers from half a century ago, whilst explorers at NASA and ESA go unnamed. Somehow, I feel conditioned to think that Christopher Columbus is more important a man than Neil Armstrong...and who is Yuri Gagarin again?

2005-Jan-15, 08:53 AM
well, the "discovery" of the "new world" by Christopher Columbus opened the doors to immediate riches and new lands to settle at a time when Europe was starting to get a bit crowded and the people were getting restless and needed something to focus on other than how rough their life was and rebelling against the monarchies that ruled Europe at the time.
all the new places we are exploring are a quarter of a million miles (the moon) or more away (Mars , Saturn, Jupiter, and a few comets), and are being explored by robots- which to most of the public seems like a bit of a waste of time and money. when we start sending real live people up there to the moon and mars and get actual eyewitness reports from people that are actually there and we figure out ways to make a lot of $$$$$ off it, then it will be news and everyone will want a piece of the action.
in the meantime, all the scientists and engineers get to build the next generation of cutting edge technologies that will someday allow people to go to the Moon or mars fairly easily- and the general public will think all this stuff happened over night when it finally does happen.

2005-Jan-15, 09:12 AM
I would consider Columbus more important than Armstrong. Columbus did the whole project, while Armstrong "just" executed it. If Columbus had died in 1482, history would be pretty different. If Armstrong would have died in 1959, we would just had to learn a different name.

2005-Jan-15, 09:28 AM
Maybe I'm a bit older but for sheer edge of your seat thrill watching the Apollo missions on a grainy B&W TV was THE big event in my life. Cassin/Huygens is a great success, so too are Spirit and Opportunity but I don't think we'll be visiting either Titan or Mars in the near future.

The drainage channels on Titan are great to see but this is not water as we know it, ~-178C pressure, ~1.6bar and ?methane? rivers do not an Earth make. Mars is almost the opposite extreme, Temperatures ~-100C night time, ~15C daytime and although plenty of evidence for past flowing water at present it looks to be either bone dry deserts or frozen wastes.

It's been an exciting and exhausting 12 months with discoveries rolling in almost daily but there has been nothing to compare to that first small step.

Bad jcsd
2005-Jan-15, 02:45 PM
Christopher Columbus discoveres the New World the direct consequence of which is the singing career of Barbara Streisland.

Neil Armstrong discovers the Moon the direct consequence of which is an unlimited supply of cheese.

I don't think you can rightly argue that CC really did the world much of a favour.