Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 9: Space + Art

Space has always been an object of fascination and intrigue for humans because it is vast and unknown.  Its exploration became a race [the so-called “Space Race”] during the Cold War between Russia and the US.  
Space Race 
Although Russia was the first into space with a satellite [1957] and later a man [1961], America was the first to walk on the moon [1969].  As I watched the lecture videos, I found it quite stimulating to understand the details about how America and Russia constantly developed new methods and technologies to expand space exploration.  Today, on the other hand, it do not seem humans are racing into space, nor are we energized to capitalize on what the moon may have to offer for problem solving.  
Time Magazine Cover Art
            The exciting developments of space exploration that occurred in 2004 added new dimensions to the notion of human effort to expand our horizons.  The US landed rovers on Mars and reached Saturn with a probe.   The most interesting aspect was the launching into space of privately owned manned crafts.  These developments were significant and exciting, but they did not seem to be big news.  Why?  Has human kind lost fascination with space exploration?  
The last lecture video made interesting arguments about the moon possibly becoming the Persian Golf of the 21st century.  The surface of the moon contains vast amounts of Helium-3 isotopes, deposited over billions of years by solar wind, which could be used to provide abundant fuel for fusion energy without radioactive waste.  
Helium 3 Isotope
Helimu-3 is not available on earth in sufficient amounts to provide fuel.   Also, using water from the asteroid belt is an intriguing idea I could not have anticipated.  Overcoming the distance and time would be a unique challenge.  I think these sorts of solutions to the challenges humans face can only be achieved as we continue the aggressive pursuit of space exploration technologies now and in the future.  
NASA Moon Base
            In 2006 NASA announced its intention to establish a permanent base on the moon by 2024.   Achieving such an objective would be exciting and a logical extension of Neil Armstrong’s historic 1969 moonwalk.  2024 is just eight years away, not many years distant.  Since then plans have changed, and it is not so clear what we will do.  Still, why have we not heard more about this development if it is still underway?  Is this next step?
Neil Armstrong
Wikipedia. “Space Race”. 29 May 2016. Web.
TED Ed Lessons Worth Sharing. “Who Won the Space Race”. 29 May 2016. Web.
Herbert, Evan. “How did the space race between the U.S. and Soviet Russia affect American Politics.” 29 May 2016. Web. 30 August 2014.
Pics About Space. “Future NASA Plans Moon Base.” 29 May 2016. Web. “Helium-3”. 29 May 2016. Web.


  1. It's interesting that you point out the lost interest in space exploration. I have not really been paying enough attention to notice this loss of interest but I would agree that it seems much less pressing than it did about 10 years ago. Hopefully we can acquire some new motivation to increase space exploration and eventually provide for the earth what the moon has to offer.

  2. I like how you asked the question of "has human kind lost fascination with space exploration?" Once I stumbled across your question I really began to wonder for myself, and I think that you may be right. It seems as though today, less attention is being given to space exploration and the fascinating with space is declining. However, I believe the fascination with space is still out there, we just need to find ways to increase it!