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The Once and Future Moon

Analogy for Space: Aviation or Seafaring?

13 Apr 2012, 10:41 UTC
Analogy for Space: Aviation or Seafaring?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Is space travel more like aviation or sea faring? It depends on your mission.

From the oceans, from the stars. Arthur C. Clarke
Space flight has very little in common with aviation; it is much closer in spirit to ocean voyaging – Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible, Harper and Row, New York, 1963.
The current drift of American’s civil space program has many reaching to think about the philosophy and methods we rely on to pursue space travel. Of late, the quote above (which I first read in high school in the late Sixties during my Arthur C. Clarke omnivorous reading campaign) has been tapping me on the shoulder. Clarke’s captivating style gripped me for some time as I worked my way through both his fiction and non-fiction oeuvre. Curiously, the above thought stayed with me and although I’d forgotten exactly where and in which of his books it occurred, I knew it was his and was able to find it.
From the beginning of the Space Age in 1957, spaceflight and rocket development has had a strong association with aviation, particularly the military variety. The first astronauts were all ...

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