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In Reply to: RE: Impressive restoration of a true classic... posted by c1ferrari on August 29, 2018 at 21:25:58
Haha -- nope!
This part..."It could have been".
I first saw 2001 in its original release as an impressionable young kid. It was at an old time single screen 1000 seat theater that had been retrofitted with all the latest Cinerama stuff including big curvy screen, three projectors and enhanced sound. I left the theater completely awestruck. Overhearing conversations on the way out, it was clear I was not alone. I'd guess about 50% of the audience were in a state of WTF, 25% "got it", and 25% were pretty buzzed. To add a bit of context, this was at a time when the US space program was in its prime and the first manned moon landing was imminent. Considering that the manned space program had progressed from a Cold War challenge to a moon landing in less than a decade, nearly everything portrayed in 2001 seemed plausible and achievable in the next 3 decades or so. It was utterly inspirational and provided a culturally unifying element in a time of great turmoil.
Then reality set in. Going to the moon became routine, the general public lost interest in space (more generally, science and technology to a large extent too) and other more worldly distractions appeared.
Fast forward to now, 17 years after zero date and we find a moribund space program where we (US) rely on Russians to get a man into orbit, a large number of satellite launches get to space using 1960s era Russian rocket technology and no one could get a man to the moon if humanity's very existence depended on it.
Ultimately, that statement was an expression of disappointment resulting from youthful idealism and naivety and adult nostalgia. It's as if the promise was within our grasp and we blew it.
During the Kennedy administration, we were a nation scared. The Russians beat us into space, and put missiles 90 miles from Florida. The Cold War was real. What we needed was a national goal to absorb our focus. Kennedy gave us that goal- beat the Russians to the Moon ! Put our best and brightest to work, no expense spared and get there by the end of the decade. The Space Program became a metaphor for our fighting of the Cold War.
History shows we beat the Russians to Moon. We were winning the Cold War. We had the Russians on the ropes. Detente was a feint; the illusion of equality when we were really forcing them to keep spending to keep up with us. Then Regan delivered the coup de gra and the Cold War was over.
The last time NASA had the nation's focus was during the early days of the Space Shuttle...the waning days of the Soviet Union and the Cold War.
We lost interest because we achieved our goal by "winning". What we need is a new reason to embrace "Space", that is perceived to be in the national interest.
When I first saw 2001 I was 11 or 12. I went with a friend my same age. Before they ran the film a man addressed the audience saying if you had a problem with the movie there would be a discussion group talking about it at the end. That was a first for me.
I saw it again in 1975/1976 as a freshman at U.R.I. on a Friday night. The movie hall held about 3000 people and it was jammed. There was pot smoke everywhere when the lights dimmed.
It was dead silent when these words came across the screen; ....The Dawn of Mankind.....Then out of the blue some stoner exclaimed; Where's Tony Orlando?
A small laugh started and spread like a virus really fast thru the crowd and it became like the last fight scene in Blazing Saddles in that hall. It was something you just never would forget, like the movie which was way ahead of it's time....Mark Korda
I'm happy this thread has elicited interesting replies. :-)
***Fast forward to now, 17 years after zero date and we find a moribund space program where we (US) rely on Russians to get a man into orbit, a large number of satellite launches get to space using 1960s era Russian rocket technology and no one could get a man to the moon if humanity's very existence depended on it. ***
That is not a very real picture. While it is true that the US space industry has lost some time doing not much, it woke up and is gaining fast, overtaking the former rivals like while those are stuck in the bog.
The Russian industry is falling apart, they are unable to keep up with the likes of SpaceX, who is now leading in launches. There are new developments everywhere, with several companies really pushing the frontier. First manned flight to ISS is supposed to happen next year. These are VERY good times for the US space industry.
...I was speaking of the present, not the future. As of August 2018, what I stated is unequivocally true.
While there is no doubt that there is renewed interest in space exploration, in the US, there's a lot of "re-inventing the wheel" going on. This coupled with the transition to private sector operations brings much added risk to the ventures from the perspective of continuity. As I'm sure you're aware, Musk's Tesla automotive and solar panel operations are under great financial pressure these days. Success here is not a given. How this uncertainty might affect his Space-X operations is unknown but it's easy to envision a Tesla failure cascading into his other ventures regardless of supposed financial firewalls betw them.
Also, I believe the Boeing/Lockheed Martin venture that gave us the antiquated Russian rocket technology situation is behind schedule with their supposed USA sourced alternative.
Another major issue with the US space program is that it has become highly politicized and from what I see, rife with conflicting priorities that politics brings with it.
Bottom line is that much uncertainty remains in the present US space program as we attempt to both privatize it and make up for much lost time and lost expertise while simultaneously navigating the eternal BS of the politics that will ultimately control its direction. I'm hopeful but have low expectations.
And at present all the stuff that I mentioned is happening. Tesla and SpaceX are not exactly related, and there seems to be no issues with the launches, they are getting new contracts, including the real big deal - military launch on its new Falcon Heavy rocket.
There are several new engines (things like AR-1 and BE-4) in the works, as well as boosters, two spacecraft and even some crazy stuff like the Stratolaunch.
Now, one can, of course, feel any way he wishes about all this. I am entirely optimistic.
We are in a transition from public sector to private sector funding. Hard to say at this point where it will end up.
I would much rather pay money to an American company, than to the soviet regime. SpaceX is today number one launcher in the world.
As result of our cancelling further flights with with the russians, the soviet Roskosmos is experiencing great difficulties, and I like that. We lost some years, but now we are taking the lead again.
But don't worry about getting back to the moon - the Chinese will do it! And then we'll be in catch-up mode again, because, you know. . . the moon's military significance - the true rationale for bothering to go there again! ;-)
So true. When I saw 2001 in the theaters, it seemed like a very likely future. When 2001 really came around, it was clear that this movie was not our future. The Star Trek episode, where they were going to launch a missile platform in space, is probably a more accurate future, although I doubt that aliens with superior intellect and technology will intervene to save us. If they try, they will probably wind up in an ICE prison that is run by a private company. (Just kidding!)
"Disappointment resulting from youthful idealism and naivety and adult nostalgia."
That about sums it up!
...if they're advanced enough to get here, they're advanced enough to avoid primitive human grade prisons by whatever means necessary. But we could stand a good, benevolent outside intervention just about now.
- But we could stand a good, benevolent outside intervention just about now.
I agree, but if history is any guide, when a society with superior technology, meets one with inferior technology, it never goes well for the one with inferior technology.
Ah! Thank you...well-said.
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