Week 8_Space by Khoa Truong-N

The concept of space and the universe is easily one of the most popular topics of wonder, fascination, and fantasy in contemporary society.  Space is comprised of the unknown, and what is more interesting to man than the unknown.  We humans constantly speculate about what is “out there”, that is why we build spaceships and telescopes, so we can understand it.  As for the rest of us who don’t build rockets, we are forced to imagine what space is.  Countless movies, books, and even religions have formed in the name of space.  Will space be more like Star Wars or Star Trek?  Unfortunately, based on what humans have accomplished so far, I doubt that neither fantasy will become a reality anytime soon.  Using even our best technology today, it would still take months if not years to reach the planet Mars (and that is one of the planets closer to Earth).  Of course, I am not undermining all the accomplishments our space program has achieved so far; I am just acknowledging the fact that there is still a long way to go before Mars can become a summer vacation spot.  And even if interplanetary travel becomes commonplace, there is no telling whether or not it would harm or benefit humanity.  For example, in the movie Bladerunner, which we watched in class a few weeks ago, space travel is a reality. However, this opportunity caused everybody who had wealth or useful skills to leave.  Since the best and brightest of humanity left Earth long ago, a power vacuum was created and now one major company wields the majority of influence and power over the entire planet.  Even if space travel were to become accessible, it would most likely be available only to those who could afford it.  Although space travel would be a tremendous accomplishment in the annals of history, it is not clear that space travel would be something beneficial to human beings of every social and economic standing.

In the midst of this space craze though, we need to consider a few factors concerning the research and resources that are being put in for space exploration.  One major factor to consider, especially in the condition of the current economy, is the cost of the space research.  If the rewards outweigh the costs then space travel would definitely be something worth looking into.  Another factor to contemplate is the benefits of space travel.  If billions of taxpayers’ dollars are going to be spent, then there should be a more tangible goal on the agenda besides national pride.  So far, we have not discovered any resources such as oil, water, or any other energy source.  With the data we have collected thus far, it doesn’t seem like there would be any useful resources in this galaxy.  As much as I would like to see the dream interstellar travel evolve into a reality, I think that there are still many problems here on Earth that we should resolve before more money and resources are spent on a space program.

-Khoa Truong-N

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Cost for a trip to mars

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/3397937.stm

Abstract:

Like my midterm, my final project will use virtual reality.  However, this project will focus more on dreams and its relation to the subconscious.  The machine will consist of a bed, with nanosensors built into the mattress, sheets, and pillows.  The user will spend a night on the bed, and while they sleep, microscopic sensors built into the bed will measure the brain activity and movement of the user.  The following morning, when the user wakes up, they will be able to view the dream they had the previous night.  The replay of the dream will play on the surrounding walls of the room, completely immersing the user in their dream.  The user will also be able to view the dream from different perspectives. Then, the user will receive psychoanalysis of the dream and reasons why they had that specific dream.

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