Help: NASA, Sputnik & its impact today...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by BrianB, Nov 16, 2003.

  1. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    My niece (a Junior in High School) is doing an essay on the topic of Sputnik and now its impact then was so much different to the space program today...

    Now, I know there's a lot of people on this forum with a keen interest in this topic, and I was curious if anyone had any good links to sites, or even better, links to journals with articles on how NASA is perceived by the American public today, and how little we seem to be interested in advancing our space program.

    Anyone with some good sites or know of good reports on this topic she can use as research material? Help! [​IMG]
     
  2. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    Ring, Ring. Jack Briggs, pick up on line 2.
     
  3. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Search this forum for "Columbia". There was a very good thread that started after the mishap. It contained a few links to outside sources that should help.
     
  4. Andrew Testa

    Andrew Testa Second Unit

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    Brian,

    The heart of Sputnik's impact was political and driven by fears associated with the Cold War. Any comparison between how the American public perceived the space race then vs. how NASA is viewed today has to be built on the sweeping political changes between the two eras, not just a change in public attitude.

    It's a long shot, but I'd recommend she see if the school or local library has the following book:

    ...the Heavens and the Earth, A Political History of the Space Age. Walter A. McDougall, 1985

    As for online resources, She may find something about the current views towards NASA at NASAWatch.

    As always, Google is your buddy, provided she can tell the difference between the wingnuts and the serious sites.

    EDIT:

    Here's a few history pieces from NASA:

    http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/Hi.../sputorig.html

    http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/monograph10/

    Outside NASA:

    http://www.space.com/missionlaunches...ry_021004.html

    This site carries a brief synopsis of the political response.

    More on the political fallout:

    http://www.centennialofflight.gov/es...utnik/SP16.htm

    Whole buncha links here:

    http://www.tv.cbc.ca/national/pgminfo/moon/links.html

    Here's why Americans don't care:

    http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/seind02/c7/c7h.htm

    Here's a good dialog on public attitude:

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2078157/entry/2078222/

    There's a lot more out there.

    Andy
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Among them being Keith Cowan's superb private site, NASA Watch

    As Andrew noted, the Soviet satellite galvanized the public, with the short-term benefits being the creation of NASA (out of the old NACA) and an increased emphasis on science and technology education. Sputnik was a genuinely new event in history whose impact is still felt today. The long-term impact of spaceflight will be, most likely, the survival of the species -- but that's never a consideration when it comes to budget allocations.

    The public is largely uninformed about space-related matters because the American news media give them so little coverage (how many Americans are even aware of the International Space Station, for example? Also, now, no major news organization even has a full-time correspondent assigned to cover NASA; in addition, so few journalists have bothered to do any research or to inform themselves about the essentials -- they don't care, and it showed during the absolutely pathetic and mistake-ridden "coverage" of the STS-107 tragedy). Too, many people have become so saturated with Hollywood space fantasies that the real events seem boring to them, unfortunately.

    I could go on and on, but you don't want to deal with that.
     
  6. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    Thanks for the links & help, I've passed it onto her.
     
  7. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    Wasn't there just a story in the news about the differences in attitude between the more cautious Americans and the more emboldened Russians? I think I heard something about the Russians bringing something up to the Space Station that the Americans considered reckless. I think bragging rights and arguements about risk vs. reward will continue as more nations become involved in the "space race." China and the EU are heating things up.
     
  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    The Russians are rightly viewed as reckless. It was the Russian Space Agency's insistence on using the untried, bug-ridden TORUS remote-controlled docking system (despite a malfunctioning video monitor and range finder) that resulted in the collision between a Progress supply ship and the Mir space station in 1997. Such bravado would never have been approved by NASA. The astronauts onboard the Mir were "controlling" the Progress without any way of measuring the vehicle's distance or speed -- and without having taken the increased mass aboard the ferry craft (just garbage offloaded from the space station) into account. Result? Collision and a ruined crew module. Depressurization is the one thing you never want to experience aboard a space station or spacecraft.
     

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