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FreeThinker

The Space Age Began Today

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On this day fifty-five years ago, October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, and began the Space Age, shocking America out of its complacence and spurring a new emphasis on science and math education in the public schools. Could someone please ask them to do it again?

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Isn't that the truth. What we need is another close look at failure like we had back in 1957. Sputnik was the kick in the ass that made us look up at the sky and at ourselves.

The most definitive and heart warming look at our reaction to Sputnik was in the 1999 film October Sky. Still one of my all time favorites:

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October Skyis one of my favourite movies. So inspirational. So human.

Free Thinker wrote:

Could someone please ask them to do it again?

I'm sorry to say that I believe that science has to find a way to displace religious myth if we are not to end up as Morlocks, or aggressive aliens on our own planet. We must dare to defy our own old age and retain our youthful inquiring minds, rather than become members of another Inquisition.

...And that is not easy...

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The United States seems unable or unwilling to find within itself the incentives that appear to be necessary for it to rouse itself and reach for meaningful leadership on the world stage. We seem, as a culture and as a political system, to only be able to react--usually aggressively and only sometimes positively--when challenged or outsmarted or otherwise outdone. Clearly we need a perceived threat from outside to undertake any renewed reach for space. I hope China or Japan or India or Brazil will give us that incentive, and we will find a way to stop hitching rides on Russian rockets.

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The most definitive and heart warming look at our reaction to Sputnik was in the 1999 film October Sky. Still one of my all time favorites.

Wow, that brought a tear to my eye, Chris. Filmmaker Joe Johnston is one of my all-time fave directors, and I was heartbroken on how most of his early films (including The Rocketeer and this one) were big bombs when first released. I was really glad for him when Captain America took off as a massive worldwide hit. Note that Johnston was the guy who designed much of the "look" of the first few Star Wars films for George Lucas, including the spaceships, much of the interiors, and the planets. The guy is a visual genius and certainly has a great affection for nostalgic stories and situations.

The United States seems unable or unwilling to find within itself the incentives that appear to be necessary for it to rouse itself and reach for meaningful leadership on the world stage.

I think that's because we're outta money. Given a completely different economy, it'd be a different situation. But I agree, many, many bad decisions have been made over the last 10-12 years.

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