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Newsworthy

Posted 08-09-2012 at 09:52 PM by Xyon

So apparently there's a sporting event of some sort happening in this country at the moment. Oh, yes, it's the Olympics.

For a start, they're nowhere near me. Might as well be France hosting them as Great Britain. I guess this theory that London == The United Kingdom pervades into the outer world from our own nation's capitol; I thought at first it was a foreign thing, but it's not. Oh well. I'm not complaining; I live 4-6 hours away from London traffic and such depending, and if I really wanted to go I suppose it's possible.

I'm not interested, though. The news certainly is though - it features every night (as I might expect anyway) - which is fine, I mean it's a global event happening in my country and I guess the Beeb are handily compensated for making its prominence in every broadcast assured. I accept there is interest there from others, too, so I can understand why it's being shown and everything. But do I really have to pretend to enjoy it? No.

Having watched the news, though, I think it's sad that MSL / Curiosity's landing got so little coverage compared. I get as well that my interest is a niche and it's not popular because OLYMPICS, but I'm really excited about the possibilities of having all that scientific hardware on another planet.

Yes, Olympics, another planet. A marathon is 26 miles. Curiosity was, before EI, doing 7.2 marathons PER SECOND. Flung from one rapidly moving target to another rapidly moving target 35,000,000 miles away and hit it perfectly - so perfectly that the thing still works.

This to me is human achievement. Irrelevant individual physical skill on behalf of such an abstract political concept as a country is (or at least should) becoming more and more irrelevant compared to the things we create, and what we achieve, when we join together to pool our intellectual strength. That's what got us to the moon. That's what brought us STS, and an ISS, and so much inbetween. Collaboration between humans, for mutual intellectual gain, for the benefit of the whole planet...

Andd that's what brought us Curiosity, and landed it safely on the red planet.

Until you can do that, Olympics, I will not watch.
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  1. Old Comment
    tl8's Avatar
    Firstly, I love spaceflight and I love sport. I find the Olympics fun and interesting.

    While you can compare Curiosity and the Olympics, in the end, the people will find what they can relate to easier to enjoy and understand. Most of us (humans) have, at some point, done some of the sports played at the Olympics. We know how hard it is to swim, run and throw metal things. Very few of people understand the technological know how to land a rover on Mars (or even launch a rocket). Even fewer have actually done it.

    The news is designed to provide most of the population with an acceptable understanding of the events around them. In order to do that they need to filter the hundreds of news items from around the world and show the ones that matter to the most people or are the most important. Due to the popularity of the Olympics, obviously it is going to get more news time. We (humans) can understand the work that goes into getting better at sport. It is something we can relate too. So when it is on, we watch it and know full well what went into winning that gold medal.

    Space is much harder to cover as news. As most people don't understand it, you need more time to provide background for it. This takes time and energy. Something news outlets don't have much off. So they provide the minimum and move on to something people can relate too.

    Anyway, this is what the internet is good for. Connecting like minded people that have interests that are not very mainstream. I hope this provides some explanation as to why...
    Posted 08-10-2012 at 03:41 AM by tl8 tl8 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    garyw's Avatar
    Today we live in a world where the skycrane WORKED.

    Thats the best achievement I can think of, I reall had my doubts that it would work. it was such an ambitious way to put a rover on Mars and so complex that it seemed impossible.

    But it worked. This means that some scientist who had this crazy idea of the skycrane x years ago has been validated.

    Amazing stuff, I look forward to what other discoveries Curiosity makes.
    Posted 08-10-2012 at 09:56 AM by garyw garyw is offline
 

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