Week 8 – “Space” by Derek Spitters

For years, space and space travel have captivated the imaginations of people all across the world. Although the United States and Russia were the main participants in the space race of the cold war, the accomplishments of these nations would change the world at large forever. The concept of space travel brought a new perspective to life on Earth. Never before had we been able to take a step back and literally look at our planet as a whole. From an external perspective, our planet becomes one of billions of others that make up our universe. We are only a small part of something much greater, and our interest in space is due to a desire to understand the rest of what is “out there.”

Space photographs have always represented a unique blend of art a technology. These often awe-inspiring images invoke in us a certain sense of mystic beauty. These photos are unlike anything that can be found on Earth, and the means by which they are taken represent the height of human technology.

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This is the first photograph ever taken from outer space. It was taken in 1946 shortly after the end of the Second World War. The photograph was taken from a missile that reached an altitude of 65 miles. (http://www.airspacemag.com/space-exploration/FEATURE-FirstPhoto.html) This photo could perhaps be considered one of the first great achievements of what would become the space race. This photo is a symbol of the desire to gain a greater understanding about our planet and its relation to the rest of the universe.

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These are the types of photographs that are taken by the Hubble Space Telescope (http://hubblesite.org/). These amazing visuals help us to see how little we know about the universe as a whole. Many people argue that it is wasteful to spend billions of dollars in resources on space programs when there are so many pressing problems here on Earth. On the other hand, after seeing images such as these, I cannot but help think that there is a great deal of worth to further exploring the great unknown. However, I do concede that resources should be allocated wisely, and in the foreseeable future space travel and exploration should be funded at a minimal level. It is important that research continues to be done and advancements continue to be made, if not at the breakneck pace that unlimited funding would allow.

The future of space exploration for the United States is unclear. As far as observatories go, the Webb Space Telescope is scheduled for a launch in 2013. This telescope will be able to see in the infrared spectrum of light as well as the Hubble Space Telescope can see in the visible spectrum of light. As far as manned space flights are concerned, the Obama administration’s budget proposal calls for the retirement of the space shuttle by the end of 2010 and for man to once again return to the moon by 2020. I personally believe that a goal of reaching the moon is a little short sighted and a bit of a distraction when compared to a mission to Mars. The limited amount of resources we dedicate to our space program should be concentrated in more worthwhile endeavors.

Abstract:

My project will once again focus on the concept of time and our relationship to it. In my previous project, I used photography to emphasize the passage of time. In this project, however, I will create a machine that simulates for the user the passage of time at different rates. The user will enter a chamber that controls all possible forms of external stimulation of the brain. The user will then experience a sequence of events with the rate of passage of time either sped up or slowed down. For example, the user could experience the passage of an entire lifetime in a manner of minutes. Conversely, they could experience a car crash slowed down and stretched out over five minutes. This project would not be limited to first person experiences. The user could watch as a universe is created and destroyed around them. They could experience the affects of global warming on a rainforest over 50 years. This project will also explore higher dimensions and will show the user many possible outcomes resulting from a specific decision. The user can then explore different paths in what could possibly be the seventh or ninth dimension.

–Derek Spitters

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