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Thread: TheRinger: How Astronomy Got Internet Famous

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    TheRinger: How Astronomy Got Internet Famous

    TheRinger: How Astronomy Got Internet Famous

    The web and the science of space have matured in tandem, with no field of study benefiting more from the ability to spread its message to the masses one meme at a time
    Features forum member (and unmannedspaceflight founder) Doug Ellison, site founder Pamela Gay, some guy named Phil Plait who co-founded the forum. Mentions GalaxyZoo and CosmoQuest. More.

    Describes how space-exploration missions and the Internet grew up together.

    Many, maybe most, of us lived the history that this article recalls.

    Astronomy isn’t the only science that’s capitalized on the internet’s ability to break down barriers between hobbyists and specialists—the biosciences and climate sciences have benefited from crowdsourcing too—but because of NASA’s early embrace of the web, “astronomy was able to take the leap to being fully digital ahead of many other projects,” Gay says.Ellison believes that astronomy’s internet fame canserve as an example to other sciences of “how capable the public are, how well they will step up to challenge if asked, and how well the amateur community and the scientific community can overlap, coexist, and benefit from one another.”
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    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    16,269
    I found this both impressive and amusing:

    In a time before cloud computing, NASA braced for impact by setting up mirror sites that would ease the strain on JPL’s servers caused by what was projected (accurately, it turned out) to be 60 million to 80 million hits in one day. The mirror plan mostly worked, although some regions were still hit hard; in France, where the phone system carried all of the nation’s internet traffic, the government asked its citizens to stop scoping out Pathfinder pics so that the country could communicate. “The French internet was brought to its knees by Mars,” Ellison says.

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