• Robert Lockhart
    170
    Could the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing plausibly act to encourage a recapitulation of human technological progress to date - maybe even leading to our erstwhile view of the practically unlimited future potential of such progress being placed in a new and more realistic perspective?
    Like, I’m thinking for example of how the euphoria regarding the potential for future human space exploration following the Apollo 11 mission – almost Dan Dare whizzing between the planets and all that - has since been superseded by a more sober recognition of the extreme limits which are in fact imposed on the potential for such activity by theoretical physics - rather than merely engineering knowledge (ex. The impossibility of negating the humanly intolerable degree of ‘G’ force that inescapably would be imposed on an astronaut during the process of acceleration towards the percentage of light-speed requisite for inter-stellar travel, etc.)

    So, to cut short - given the fact that all future tech-progress must increasingly become susceptible to the old law of ‘Diminishing Returns’, maybe – did Armstrong allude to the idea on the lunar surface - maybe the ultimate result of the ‘Space-Age’ could be to bring us all back down to Earth? :)
  • Robert Lockhart
    170
    Wrote while pissed...
  • TheMadFool
    4.7k
    You must not give up on human ingenuity. I find the iron maiden torture device especially inspiring. If we could do that to another human being, surely we can do anything.

    Seriously, I think science has certainly turned on the lights in some rooms but there are still many many unexplored rooms in the grand mansion that is our universe. Perhaps we can find something interesting there...a warp drive? mind uploading? Maybe...just maybe...
  • Fine Doubter
    97
    Michio Kaku points out in "Hyperspace" that immediately after the landing, Johnson abolished restrictions on the draft for graduate researchers, with the result that graduate research sharply dipped, which explains why the programme was suddenly curtailed. Apart from the space station collaborations, the main "thrust" after that was the unmanned research probes which have been sending those marvellous pictures and signals from planets, comets and asteroids of late, and I'm very glad of those I can assure you.
  • fishfry
    1.1k
    Like, I’m thinking for example of how the euphoria regarding the potential for future human space exploration following the Apollo 11 mission – almost Dan Dare whizzing between the planets and all that - has since been superseded by a more sober recognition of the extreme limits which are in fact imposed on the potential for such activity by theoretical physics - rather than merely engineering knowledgeRobert Lockhart

    It was neither physics or engineering. It was politics. Even at the time people asked why should we send men into space when we had so many social problems here on earth. That point of view won out and we lost fifty years of progress. In the fullness of time it won't matter; but it's sad that the promise of manned space exploration has stagnated due to politics within the lifetimes of those of us who saw the moon landing on tv.

    You remember in the film The Right Stuff, a NASA bureaucrat asked the astronauts if they knew what makes the rockets go up. "Funding. No bucks, no Buck Rodgers."
  • ssu
    1.9k
    So, to cut short - given the fact that all future tech-progress must increasingly become susceptible to the old law of ‘Diminishing Returns’Robert Lockhart
    Until there is a technological revolution, when the whole concept changes.

    Just look at transportation: modern ships aren't far more faster than the classic liners in the 30's were back in the old days. The modern Queen Mary goes 30 knots and S/S Normandie went 32 knots. The fastest trans-atlantic crossing by a liner was made in 1952. Modern US aircraft can go little over 30 knots. To get to higher speeds one needs catamarans and hydrofoils. Yet then came a totally new way to transport people by air with aircraft. Here too there are limitations of economics: the speed of sound has defined the practical or economic limits to air speed for aircraft.

    It was neither physics or engineering. It was politics.fishfry
    100% true.

    We could have been on Mars during the Reagan years. If there would have been the political will (with Nixon) for a similar pace space mission. In fact, if the Russians would have succeeded with their moon rockets and beat the Americans even in this occasion (and we would not remember Neil Armstrong, but yet again a Cosmonaut, perhaps even Gagarin, as the first man on the moon), it could have been that Nixon may indeed have gone with von Braun's ideas of a manned Mars mission (or manned Venus fly-by) and not opted for the "cost-effective" Space Shuttle program.

    41u4FTQ7+mL._AC_UL436_.jpg

    mars%20landing%20profile-thumb-445x286.jpg
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