UK Poet Laureate John Masefield - Space And The Mind
Up Equals Down
I have found that the journey into the increasing depths of cyberspace is akin to the journeys into the deepest parts of the oceans of Earth, both of which are akin to the deepening journeys humanity is taking into outer space. This is a three-fold opportunity for exploration and it all is reminiscent of atomic structure - circles and orbiters and fractal equations and other things and cabbages and kings, no less. And it's all adventure.
The ability to see parallels and patterns is demonstrated by certain testing instruments like the Miller Analogies exam. High scores on this one can indicate a potential for success in architecture or poetry or mental illness. How can one be a success in mental illness? - Not really, but this would represent one's seeing connections that are false or nonexistent. In the extreme, this could be paranoia as well as some conspiracy theory bent. A clear example is Russell Crowe's performance as the math wizard gone mad in A Beautiful Mind. The ability to draw connections can create problems in scientific research as well, because we often want to make connections that really don't exist - some things occurs strictly by chance. It's a source of error, as we say.
Yet any of the three worlds I mention can offer similar journeys, I am convinced of it. To my mind and experience, mathematics, poetry, music, Gene Roddenberry's Genesis II, Stargate Atlantis, deep seas research, the realm of space and time exploration, and technicological advances related to the Internet are all one, on some level.
I once had the chance to perhaps train for a career that would have led me to NASA, but shied away from that. At the time, I was not ready to become a US Marines' electrical engineer. By coincidence and premonition, it seems it could have placed me on a shuttle breaking apart above the Earth, killing everyone inside. Being younger, I had fear then, but not now. If I could have the chance, I would travel to space. Until then, cyberspace and reading and watching deep sea documentaries will do.
UK Poet Laureate John Masefield
Poetry of Air and Water
The poem below, Sea Fever by John Masefield, sums up my thoughts about sea and space travel.
If I could be a long-term part of a colonization operation on the Moon or Mars, I would readily join the space adventure team. As it is, trained astronauts may fly one, a few, or no missions at all. Other jobs are just as important at NASA and private space flight companies, but at this point I would want to "go up."
Drawbacks: The space suits are still uncomfortable, even though better than the 1950s. The tight fitting bit underneath the helmet would drive me mad - like panyhose on your head - but not if I shaved my head and used baby powder or cornstarch. I would not want hair sticking me in the eye, anyway. I can stand anything except my skin sticking to vinyl chairs and hair stuffed into a tight hood as well as my eye. G-forces, floating, disorientation, and heights won't bother me.
Down to the Sea in Ships
Year by year, the sea seems ever more like outer space to me.
There is a majestic quality to both venues. We name dry depressions on the moon, Luna, and dusty craters on Mars after the seas of Earth. It fits.
I would feel the same things represented in this poem, about either the sea or space
by the UK Poet Laureate John Masefleld
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life.
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
NASA Missions 2015 - 2050
The International Space Station is a fascinating start to colonizing space. In other work, NASA is in the midst of a 6-year ice mapping campaign surrounding Earth's polar ice caps and adjacent sheets. That could prove to be a very useful project. It's called Operation Ice Bridge.
In order to colonize the Moon and Mars, we need a new Shuttle Fleet and perhaps the help of privatized space travel as well. All that may be 10-20 years into the future, but I would go up. Will there be age limits for space travelers?
That remains to be seen. High blood pressure is not an encouraging space travel recommendation for senior citizens and others that suffer from it. Will private astronauts differ from NASA astronauts, and if so, how?
A group of physicians had an idea to create a medical colony on the Moon in order to treat people with uncontrollable high blood pressure. It might work and it would be fun to start up. Medical laboratories might create compounds unable to be produced in Earth-gravity as well.
Meanwhile, we can keep up to date with the NASA website and webcasts, and access the Mars Society webpage and there's always science fiction and futurist literature.
© 2009 Patty Inglish
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