February 18th, 2013

Want to get a little perspective?

Try this for size (hat tip: Gerard Vanderleun at American Digest). The video includes a lot of new-agey political stuff, but it’s the pictures that are wonderful:

OVERVIEW from Planetary Collective on Vimeo.

Here’s an early post of mine on my own memories of those first views of earth as seen from space.

And since I’m one of those types who’s easily reminded of poetry, that video made me think of this poem, of course:

By Archibald MacLeish

And here face down beneath the sun
And here upon earth’s noonward height
To feel the always coming on
The always rising of the night:

To feel creep up the curving east
The earthy chill of dusk and slow
Upon those under lands the vast
And ever climbing shadow grow

And strange at Ecbatan the trees
Take leaf by leaf the evening strange
The flooding dark about their knees
The mountains over Persia change

And now at Kermanshah the gate
Dark empty and the withered grass
And through the twilight now the late
Few travelers in the westward pass

And Baghdad darken and the bridge
Across the silent river gone
And through Arabia the edge
Of evening widen and steal on

And deepen on Palmyra’s street
The wheel rut in the ruined stone
And Lebanon fade out and Crete
High through the clouds and overblown

And over Sicily the air
Still flashing with the landward gulls
And loom and slowly disappear
The sails above the shadowy hulls

And Spain go under and the shore
Of Africa the gilded sand
And evening vanish and no more
The low pale light across that land

Nor now the long light on the sea:

And here face downward in the sun
To feel how swift how secretly
The shadow of the night comes on …

12 Responses to “Want to get a little perspective?”

  1. physicsguy Says:

    Truly great pictures if I turn off the sound to avoid the Gaia as goddess preaching.

  2. Origen Says:

    God, I haven’t though about this poem in years–thank you!

  3. rickl Says:

    Space tourism will eventually be pretty popular, I think. Of course, the price of a launch has to come down so that people can afford it. People are working on that. It’s sort of a chicken-and-egg problem.

  4. beverly Says:

    For all space/science buffs, this is wonderful:

    This guy’s voiceover is a treat! He does these 3- and 4-minute Space Newscasts daily; give it a go.

  5. parker Says:

    “Space tourism will eventually be pretty popular, I think. Of course, the price of a launch has to come down so that people can afford it. People are working on that. It’s sort of a chicken-and-egg problem.”

    Perhaps in 2313, meanwhile there will be a global depression and much chaos that will eat up a century or 2. Welcome to the new dark age that precedes the space age. Of course this fantasy assumes there will be the knowledge and means to boost the banksters off the planet for a few hours.

    Chicken or egg? No, no, first there was coffee.

  6. rickl Says:

    Actually, the aviation industry did pretty well during the 1930s depression, despite the economy. There were a lot of technological advances, and many more people had flown by the end of the decade than at the beginning.

    It’s becoming apparent that relying on the Space Shuttle as our sole means of human access to space for the last 30 years has actually retarded our progress. It was originally sold as a way to make spaceflight more routine and inexpensive but did neither.

    Now that it’s gone, a number of companies are moving forward with ambitious plans. Virgin Galactic and a couple of other companies envision suborbital spacecraft to carry paying passengers. SpaceX, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada Corporation are all developing new manned orbital spacecraft. Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources are planning to mine asteroids for minerals. And Bigelow Aerospace has developed large inflatable habitat modules that can be used to assemble space stations for much less than the cost of the ISS. Interestingly, company founder Robert Bigelow made much of his money running a hotel chain.

  7. dgarsys Says:

    interestingly, there actually is good poetry and some good and/or funny songs re: space – as the science fiction community – or at least the convention-going subset of it, has long had a tradition of “filk” music.

    One that was written as a “parody” of another song but is still very touching is “By the Time I get to…” from Roundworm (Album: http://www.prometheus-music.com/space.html Lyrics: http://www.songworm.com/lyrics/songworm-parody/BytheTimeIGetTo.html , available via Spotify ).

    To Touch the Stars is another collection (http://www.prometheus-music.com/space.html), including “Fire in the Sky” and several haunting Julia Ecklar songs, as well as some other fun and funny stuff.

  8. rickl Says:

    parker Says:
    February 18th, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    meanwhile there will be a global depression and much chaos that will eat up a century or 2.

    All the more reason to press forward with all possible speed to get the hell out of Dodge.

  9. Ymarsakar Says:

    This is a funny coincidence. I was just watching Space Brothers. They were talking about how to explain the desire to go into space.

    Let’s say you were an ant, except a 1d ant that could only move forward or backwards on a line. As you do so, there is a stone in front. As a 1d ant, you cannot move forwards, so your world is stopped. Except a 2d ant comes along and says “hey, we can move around the boulder!” Now the alts move around the boulder as 2d ants.

    However, they now come across a wall of rock that extends forever left and right. With no ability to go around it or through it, they are left at a stand still. Until the 3d ant comes along and tells everyone to climb over the cliff.

    Traveling to planets in the system is not merely to spend money on getting humans there, but to get a different perspective on Planet Earth and all of our current human problems, in order to seek new solutions to what stops humanity from moving forward.

    P.S. As a personal opinion, my interest in space relates more to weaponization such as kinetic strikes, an easy and pinpoint way to annihilate enemies to humanity.

  10. parker Says:

    “.. get the hell out of Dodge.”

    Impossible. You are stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again. There is no way out (temporarily) via space flight unless you are a billionaire and meanwhile the devaluation continues so within a year it will require you are a multi-trillionaire to get off planet for a few hours.

    We are coming to the place where it is all down to dust. Same as it ever was, nothing new under the sun.

  11. artfldgr Says:

    Whenever life gets you down, Mrs.Brown
    And things seem hard or tough
    And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft
    And you feel that you’ve had quite enough

    Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
    And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour
    That’s orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it’s reckoned
    A sun that is the source of all our power

    The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
    Are moving at a million miles a day
    In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour Of the galaxy we call the ‘milky way’

    Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars
    It’s a hundred thousand light years side to side
    It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick
    But out by us, it’s just three thousand light years wide

    We’re thirty thousand light years from galactic central point
    We go ’round every two hundred million years
    And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
    In this amazing and expanding universe

    The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
    In all of the directions it can whizz
    As fast as it can go, the speed of light, you know
    Twelve million miles a minute and that’s the fastest speed there is

    So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure
    How amazingly unlikely is your birth
    And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space
    ‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth


  12. carl in atlanta Says:

    Make me think of the 1968 Whole Earth Catalog

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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