The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully landed two small rovers on near-Earth asteroid 162173 Ryugu on September 21st, 2018. The successful detachment of the two rovers from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft was confirmed yesterday.
Posts tagged ‘technology’
On August 21st, the European Space Agency will launch their much anticipated Aeolus satellite to help improve weather predictions.
How crucial is the military to the advancement of humanity? While the military is the main force behind war and imperialism, it is also a tremendously efficient system responsible for churning out some of the greatest technologies known to man. The world is divided among pacifists and fascists; those who believe war is central to humanity, and those who wish to see it end for good. In the United States, the military budget completely dwarfs the budgets of any other sector of the country. Many believe that drastically defunding the military would allow the country to flourish in different ways; others see once again the central role the military plays in the advancement and security of the nation.
Today, Virgin Galactic launched its SpaceShipTwo rocket to an altitude of 170,000 feet (32 miles), which was high enough for the pilots to see the black ‘sky’ of space as well as a beautiful view of Earth. This is the highest Virgin Galactic has been able to fly their commercial spacecraft so far. The purpose of today’s flight was to test various functions of the spacecraft.
One of my favorite YouTube channels, SpaceRip, has released a new documentary exploring the prospect of colonizing Mars. While there are plenty of Mars documentaries these days, I particularly enjoyed this one for its focus on facts and historical timelines, as opposed to outright hype.
In my quest to pinpoint my various sources of anxiety, and to increase my focus and productivity, I’ve recently turned my attention to my smartphone. I’ve realized that I have a love/hate relationship with it. I spend countless moments mindlessly pulling my phone out and thumbing through apps. What’s most irritating is how habitual it is. I won’t even receive a notification and yet I find myself pulling out my phone on impulse, mainly when I lose interest in what’s going on in the environment around me. As much as it excites me to understand how profound it is for each human to possess such powerful technology, I find that owning a smartphone (at least for myself) is a micro representation of the larger notion that technology is a “double-edged sword,” basically meaning that its detriments are equal to its benefits.
Hopefully by now the many fans of Porter Robinson have caught on to his side project Virtual Self. The self-titled EP was released in November 2017 and has ignited the dance music scene with early 2000’s rave nostalgia. Almost every track has received remixes, and new artists are emerging who seem to have been inspired directly by Virtual Self. Today, Porter Robinson has released the official video for arguably the most popular track off the EP, ‘Ghost Voices’.
Since the dawn of humanity our ancestors have been able to look up at the night sky in its untainted entirety with respect and awe. The night sky must have been the biggest source of guidance, comfort and storytelling to those accustomed to only having campfires as a source of light. We may owe much of our cultural evolution to the night sky. Religion and civilization in general are likely the results of our wonderment over various astronomical events. Imagine a world where every sentient being has had an equal opportunity to view the splendors of the night sky unaltered. Today this is not a possibility. Many people in modern times haven’t had the chance to travel anywhere remote enough to view the sky without being inhibited by what is known as light pollution, or “skyglow”. Nowadays, we walk outside of our city homes on a crisp, clear night and see only a handful of stars. Light pollution is the byproduct of our modernized world. The technological advancements which have provided us so much security and visibility may actually be disconnecting us further from our natural selves. Not everyone has the time or inclination to drive so many miles outside of the nearest city just to see a more wholesome night sky; even when in a seemingly remote area, light pollution from large cities still tends to dampen the sky to a degree. The loss of our night sky could result in our downfall, but to bring back its undiluted brilliance could mean a boost in our sense of self and fascination in the natural world.
Featured image: http://scottr5680.deviantart.com/art/Biodome-375817102
As appealing as the idea of deep space exploration sounds, we as humans may not actually be at the most advantageous point in our abilities to undergo exploration at a larger scale. Not only is space travel technologically challenging, but we humans in our current biological form aren’t necessarily equipped to handle the conditions of space or the celestial bodies we wish to explore. We are susceptible to the harsh radiation in the vacuum of space, we cannot respire in most atmospheres, and we probably couldn’t handle some of the unfamiliar physical conditions on most planets such as variations in gravity, or extreme variations in temperature. This however should not stop us from thinking creatively about how we approach space travel. There are many alternative “modes of transportation” for example, and there is always the possibility of uniquely altering ourselves in preparation for conditions that are not familiar to us.
We need to focus more on space. Exploration, colonization, and the planetary sciences need to be a higher priority of the general public. Humanity’s future depends on how dedicated we are to exploring the solar system and other stars. The benefits to humanity are immeasurable, and we can imagine what some of those benefits might be. We already know what benefits our current space industry has produced. Many technologies and medications used in space decades ago have already trickled down to everyday humans on Earth. This trickle-down effect bolsters our economy and jump-starts technological innovation. There are also the more intangible mental effects space exploration has on us as a civilization. Exploring space has altered and expanded our cosmic view. The various types of space telescopes and robotic probes represent an extension to our biological senses. Through these instruments we are constructing a more complete picture of the cosmos and our place within it. Studying the various asteroids, planets and moons in our solar system also help us to know how we came to be and where we should go in the future. We can even see how our current understanding of the cosmos affects culture. Artists from various disciplines tend to include modern space science concepts, terminology and themes in their works; it is also a sign of how much the desire to learn more about space is embedded in our DNA.