Pluto

So, we’re about to get a good look at Pluto.  I heard a very enthusiastic man talking on the radio this morning.

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-14/australian-centre-helps-new-horizons-getting-up-close-with-pluto/6616834

[CSIRO Spokesman ]Mr Nagle likens the imminent close encounter with Pluto to Neil Armstrong’s historic Moon walk and the recent Mars Curiosity Rover mission.

“New Horizons is another one of those moments,” Mr Nagle said. “You will remember where you were and what you were doing on that day when the whole world sees a brand new place in our solar system for the very first time. You will take a deep breath and go: ‘Wow this is something that no human has ever seen before.’ A world that has been out there for 5 billion years, waiting for human eyes to stare and ponder its mysteries for decades and centuries to come.”

I don’t think so.

We have become jaded by images, especially those fantastical images generated by computer. What made the moon images so transfixing was the presence of a real, live, moving MAN there.  We were watching it unfold: no-one really knew what was going to happen. Would he sink into sand the moment he put foot to the surface? Was he going to be safe?   Even though that blurred, black-and-white video footage was, of course, repeated on the news, it was not a video clip  that could be re-played again and again on YouTube at our whim.

moonlanding

Where was I during the moon landing? I was in Form 2 (Year 8) at Banyule High School.  The school only had one television, perched on a high stand on wheels in the corner of room 4 (I think), which had black-out curtains.   We were permitted (encouraged?) to go to watch it at home, which I did.  We were supposed to come back to school afterwards, although knowing what I do now, I can’t really imagine that any of the staff really wanted us to do so.   I can’t actually remember the act of watching it, but I do remember closing the curtains and fearing that the ferocious Miss Crewther, the girls’ principal, would come to the front door to berate me for not returning to school as instructed.  As if!

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2 responses to “Pluto

  1. Damien Broderick, Transmitters (1984): “It is astonishing to realize that in the 25 years between Armstrong’s first flying lessons and his trip to another world, flying speeds had been multiplied by a factor of 40. If technology continues at the same rate, a future astronaut reading these words could expect to fly, by the mid-1990s, at more than a million kilometres an hour – that is, to Mars in less than two days.” If only.

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