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View Full Version : Nostalgia won't make us space explorers



ToSeek
2003-Dec-03, 05:25 PM
Nostalgia For Medieval Explorers Won't Make Us Space Explorers (http://www.spacedaily.com/news/oped-03zzx.html)


I think we are in the same position with respect to space flight that the Norsemen were in respect to colonizing Canada. Our chemical rockets are just as inadequate as the Viking longboats. Our spacesuits are as clumsy as chainmail armor. Our means of defense from solar and cosmic radiation are as ineffective as the Viking spears and axes were against the Indians. Our ideas for using local resources are as primitive as the farming and mining techniques of 1000 A.D. And so far, our ideas for profitable imports from space have turned out to be as disappointing as the real lands behind those Viking realtors' names "Greenland" and "Wineland" (Newfoundland).

What we need are the 21st-century equivalents of the galleons, plate armor, gunpowder, horses, and plows that made the European colonization of America practical in the 1500s and 1600s. Even more, we need some outer space analog to profit centers like Newfoundland's codfish, Virginia's tobacco, and Mexico's gold.

He suggests canceling the shuttle and ISS and devoting the savings to developing the equivalents of these.

Kaptain K
2003-Dec-03, 05:30 PM
That is putting the cart before the horse. To change metaphors, that is like saying the Wright brothers should have skipped all the boring preliminaries and built a 747 to start with. :roll:

Glom
2003-Dec-03, 06:08 PM
But can we still worship Thor?

Madcat
2003-Dec-03, 09:54 PM
http://users.wolfcrews.com/toys/vikings/

TriangleMan
2003-Dec-03, 10:15 PM
Our means of defense from solar and cosmic radiation are as ineffective as the Viking spears and axes were against the Indians.
And the Indians were using . . . what?

I think that the Norse were actually following the profit-center motive, moving from one colony to another for their farming and fish. That the Vikings failed at Newfoundland does not discredit their colonizations of Iceland and Greenland. So is the analogy correct?

I think slow, steady development is key and while I think space exploration should receive more funding than it is now I think its got the right idea in how it should develop. It's not like Columbus suddenly decided to build an up-to-then-unknown large ship.

Diamond
2003-Dec-04, 09:52 AM
Not a nostalgia thread again? :o

To the point: I think the author is pointing out that the Shuttle program and the ISS are "make-work" programs devoid of any useful science except to show that large amounts of money can be wasted in low-orbit without trying too hard.

The author is not the first person to point out that both programs are PREVENTING the exploration and colonization of space by siphoning large amounts of money away. In their own different ways both Robert Zubrin (Mars Express) and Bob Park (Robot exploration only) have expressed similar views about both programs.

I personally cannot see the point of the ISS. I think Denis Tito had the right idea.

Edited for bad speling.

QuagmaPhage
2003-Dec-04, 11:10 AM
But can we still worship Thor?

Yes. Here is the website of Forn Siğrs (http://www.fornsidr.dk/index_uk.html)



I think that the Norse were actually following the profit-center motive, moving from one colony to another for their farming and fish. That the Vikings failed at Newfoundland does not discredit their colonizations of Iceland and Greenland. So is the analogy correct?

I don't think the analogy is correct either. The colonies at Iceland and Greenland were founded by refugees and outcasts who were looking for a place to live. Not by explorers who were searching for knowledge, trade and profit. Astronauts are not running from the law.

TriangleMan
2003-Dec-04, 05:12 PM
I don't think the analogy is correct either. The colonies at Iceland and Greenland were founded by refugees and outcasts who were looking for a place to live. Not by explorers who were searching for knowledge, trade and profit. Astronauts are not running from the law.

Well what do ya know, QP appears to be correct (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07615b.htm) (not that I'm going to dispute Iceland/Greenland history with a Dane). Learn something new everyday I guess!

Okay everyone, you may return to your regularly scheduled astronaut discussions. :)

QuagmaPhage
2003-Dec-05, 11:46 AM
Triangleman, I don't know if you just googled that link to the Catholic Encyclopeida or if you use it regularly but it is not a reliable source. At the bottum it has a copyright notice dating to 1910 (online edition 2003) and judging by the text it hasn't been updated since 1910. After reading the entry for Denmark I can firmly conclude that the encyclopedia has not been updated since 1910 since it claims that the three islands in the West Indies, St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas are a part of Denmark. Those Islands were sold to USA i 1917. :lol: The website should have a large warning about not having been updated for almost 100 years.

ej145
2003-Dec-06, 02:21 AM
To the point: I think the author is pointing out that the Shuttle program and the ISS are "make-work" programs devoid of any useful science except to show that large amounts of money can be wasted in low-orbit without trying too hard.


the way i see it, the ISS has very little to do with science and everything to do with engineering. its all nice to figure out new ways of getting out into the solar system but if you cant change those ideas into practical working machines then we arent going to find ourselves colonising anything further away than the Earth's surface. i think we need more experience with living in space before we start tossing people out of Earth orbit.