136: My Own Private Outer Space

My Own Private Outer Space

"NASA sprang into action, showing young people science could be fun, using space as the carrot, communist invasion as the stick. As a result, millions of American children got their first taste of space - real space. Careers were launched and dreams brought into being, built on the foundation of science taught in classrooms, but for me these classes had the opposite effect. Real space wasn't spacey enough for me. As an ex-girlfriend would later put it, I was more in love with the idea than the reality."

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That sounds very much like what I ended up with. Armstrong on the moon back in the days doesn't sound half as exciting as Darth Vader spearheading the assault on the rebel forces (bastards they are, hindering an empire!).

I always, somehow, surmised it to be that heading out to space in a shuttle's probably the biggest thing since the wheel for a person to be a part of, if you even had a snowballs chance in hell of getting there. Thing is that as long as it's impossible as hell to take part in I don't see how it's that interesting anymore, beyond the first "ooooo" and "aaaaa".

So it kind of ends up in that unless you intend to fight the fight to get your ass out to into space while it's still special, it'll remain such a distant dream, so far off it feels impossible, that you sort of distance yourself from it.

It makes the 15 minute install of some space-game where you can feel special and adventurous with a few hours alot more interesting, not to mention possible.

This is beautiful work, Russ.

And dude, seriously. Get out of my head.

Ian Dorsch:
This is beautiful work, Russ.

And dude, seriously. Get out of my head.

Thanks. Glad you liked it. I was feeling very nostalgic for the old days at GWJ when I wrote it.

Wow. I haven't been on this site for long, mostly just watching the videos from Yahtzee, but as I read more articles I just keep finding myself impressed.

Brilliant piece there. The mention of Mass Effect really brought the thought of seeing Earth from the moon alive for me because I too remember seeing that and thinking it was amazing. Out of all the locations I saw in that game, being on the moon and seeing the Earth from space was one of the main highlights of my experience with that game.

Really made me sit there and wonder, "How would it feel to be sitting on the moon and seeing the Earth. Seeing home and knowing that it was so far away. Knowing that to get back I would have to travel through all that empty space and then burn an entry back..." It was just that beautiful and moving. And I guess fantasy space just makes those problems go away and keeps all the wonder and excitement.

It may be an amazing piece of written text there, but i dunno. everytime i read articles, i'm just... i just feel kinda empty and i dunno why. I just don't feel impressed or anything. I may be complaining, but i'm wondering how people can admire these kind of things, while it leaves me cold...

hickwarrior:
It may be an amazing piece of written text there, but i dunno. everytime i read articles, i'm just... i just feel kinda empty and i dunno why. I just don't feel impressed or anything. I may be complaining, but i'm wondering how people can admire these kind of things, while it leaves me cold...

That's probably the most depressing thing I've ever read. And I've read a lot of depressing things. Written a few, too. Wow. Congrats!

Yeah, it's right up there with the guy who told me that he just "didn't really like music."

Well...okay. I mean, what do you say to that?

This was a very good article, but I can't say that I feel exactly the same way. I think all the hard scary science of space is absolutely FASCINATING. It's not the pulpy, pop-culture-y, shiny vision that's lots of fun to go play in... but it's still damned impressive on its own merits.

Have you guys heard of "hard" sci-fi versus "soft" sci-fi? Where Hard is more the fiction about the science itself, where soft is more about the people and happenings that surround the science? It's easier to relate to the dream and the feelings and the personalities, than it is to the physics equations. Something to chew on, in light of the article.

great article! I had some of the same experiences as you did, being in love with the concept of space, imagining myself in the space shuttle, I also remember being in school the day the challenger exploded and the shock that it caused. I was so much in love with space that my parents sent me to space camp. I still feel indebted to them for that and it was an amazing experience, but I think my interest and fascination with space ended soon after i got back from space camp. I realized then, that it was more about physics and mathematics than dreams. Science and mathematics weren't exactly my strong points, so i gave up on that dream. I was able to rekindle that dream space through all the space sims like wing commander and x-wing/tie fighter and i also loved the mechwarrior series. I also love all the space shows out there, battlestar, buck rogers, firefly, andromeda and all the others. I still have an interest in astronomy,and love learning about all the new things being discovered, but i miss those days when space was more magical, and also i miss the glory days of the space sim.

Yeah... space. I grew up on those same grand dreams -- my dad and I may actually have gotten teary-eyed over documentaries about the Apollo missions at some point. It still seems to me that we have to go there eventually, but for the moment our machines are waaaay better at it than we are. Rather a bitter pill.

Anyway, Mr. Pitt, if you haven't already, you should really have a look at Orbiter (http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/). It's not a game, it's a very hardcore sim. But it's still worth a few hours of your time, even if (as for me) it doesn't become something you do often.

Mr. Pitts,

This made me nostalgic in a very good way. Not the Michael Bay doing Transformers way where I'm terrified someone's going to take something I love and twist it until it's an unrecognizable mess, no the "I'm suddenly 11 years old again, watching Empire Strikes Back AGAIN, and asking my Mom to get me an X-Wing for Christmas".

The first game I ever played on a PC, on my first ever PC, was X-Wing, by the way. Can't even count how many hours I spent on that thing.

There was a surreal moment at work a few months ago. I work in Corporate IT, and I'm sitting there talking to our Chief Technology Officer. Somehow, video games came up. Turns out he played X-Wing too.

There was a point here, but I can't remember it. I got lost in the childlike wonder this article conjured up for me. It's a good trip, gonna see how long I can milk it.

Thank you.

 

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