lunedì 27 agosto 2012

Footprints on the Moon

Footprints on the Moon (Posted by Claire L. Evans on August 26, 2012, Universe)
Yesterday we lost Neil Armstrong, an accidental hero, thrust by fate onto a rock in the sky. Many dreamt of walking on the moon before he did, and a few men did after him. He happened to be the first. Hopefully many more men, and women too, will echo his iconic footsteps in the future. Perhaps even future space tourists will huddle around Tranquility base, laying nostalgic 60s filters over their high-resolution snapshots of an upended American flag from a long-ago mission.

William Blake's 'I want! I want!' (1793)

The real triumph of the Apollo program was its unforeseen shift in tone; driven by a desire to objectively beat the Soviets down to the wire–most Americans don’t know the unmanned Russian craft Luna 15 was beginning its descent just as Armstrong and Aldrin were tromping about the moon’s surface–and catalyzed by feverish nationalism, it instead precipitated dreamy wonder in its participants and the millions who watched the ghostly images from below.

The Appollo 11 mission would have been impossible today. It was too quick and dirty, too risky. Today, wiser, we send robots ahead of us. 

Did you know NASA accidentally erased the original moon landing footage during routine magnetic tape re-use in the 1980s? The footage the world saw on television that July day in 1969 was actually taken of a slow-scan television monitor and re-broadcast, picture quality reduced. The space between the primacy of that moment–in Armstrong’s life and in the narrative of the 20th century–is obscured a layer of irretrievable analog decay, time, and distance. Now death, too.

Neil Armstrong said a great many beautiful things about his experiences. Most astronauts did. Going to the moon has a tendency to turn test pilots into poets. That matter of cortex-shifting is called the Overview Effect

NASA’s Curiosity Rover is wonderful, and has already proven a robot’s capacity to ignite the global imagination, but it cannot perform the simple acts of grace that can be the lasting effects of a mission to space. Perhaps we should invent poetry engines, rovers equipped with algorithms that can turn vaporized soil samples into poignant insights.

 'I want! I want!' (1793) by William BlakeAlastair Sooke examines Blake's endearing engraving documenting the stages of man's life

1 commento:

Pim ha detto...

Sempre che sulla luna gli americani ci siano andati davvero...

Ciao, a presto.