Man Conquers Space

By Phil Plait | December 17, 2007 10:04 am

You must see this.

Holy.

Frakking.

Awesomeness.

I can’t wait to see it. But I think it might make me a little sad. If only… if only.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, NASA
MORE ABOUT: cool, movie, Space, video

Comments (37)

  1. Hmmm… Collier’s is nice, but if there’s Orion drives, I’m sold.

  2. Stephen

    The Ain’t It Cool News quote on their site doesn’t really help their credibility. Every time I see an AICN quote, my sole reaction is to say, out loud, “Shut the **** up!” This is no exception. No matter how much I agree with the quote, I can’t condone his use of multiple exclamation points.

  3. Ad Hominid

    Centipede,
    Check out Rhys Taylor’s Orion launch video at Nuclear Space.
    Note that Shuttle SRBs (a passel of ‘em) are used to boost the monster out of the atmosphere before the nuke drive lights up.

  4. I’ve seen that one, actually. ;)

  5. The Hot Rod movie, though, makes me want to build a model pulse drive rocket for my very own…

  6. Ad Hominid

    I’ve speculated for some time that one of the upstart space powers, China or India for example, might use a small nuclear-thermal upper stage to increase the lift of an existing booster to the point at which a manned Moon flight or some other space spectacular becomes feasible.
    The largest Indian rocket, PSLV-3, can already put something like 7500 kg into LEO.
    If a nuclear-thermal stage with an isp of around 1000 replaced the (very small) solid-fuel upper stage, four of these could lift an updated version of the lunar-modified Soyuz into LEO and transfer enough propellant to send it to the lunar surface and back. This would be the “Sputnik from Hell” scenario I discussed earlier.
    The Chinese have considerably more lift available now and it would be proportionately more feasible for them.
    Do they have the incentive to do it? That depends entirely on political objectives and resource allocation. The basic technology for this has existed for decades and much of the detail engineering has been done as well.

  7. tacitus

    I can’t wait to see it. But I think it might make me a little sad. If only… if only.

    Of course, the only downside to wishing for an alternative history like this is that if it had started with events before the moment of your conception, you would almost certainly not be around to experience the results of that history!

    Your parents and grandparents may have still met and had children and grandchildren, but none of them would have been you.

  8. tacitus

    An even more interesting “what if” regarding technological advancement is to imagine where we might have been today if not for the decline and fall of the classical world of the Greeks and Romans. In some ways they were so close to breakthroughs in engineering and technology — steam power, for example. Perhaps all it would have taken was the right genius in the right place at the right time and we might not have had to suffer the 1,000 year hiatus in scientific understanding and advancement.

    Of course, it’s never that simple, and perhaps the religious, social and political circumstances of the time would have conspired to bring an end to the classical world no matter what, but it’s fun to speculate.

    And imagine where we could be today if we had another 1,000 years of technology and science under our belt.

  9. Will. M

    Yes, an ALTERNATE history…I guess one could speculate the “what ifs” forever: what if the U.S. didn’t enter a conservative phase in its politics right after WWII; what if the early successes of the moon landings wasn’t torpedoed by that same conservative attitude which led to our involvement in the Cold War, Vietnam, and…
    But then NONE of those events occurred, and we’re where we are today: money being wasted on this god-forsaken war (yes GOD and every entity/deity – forsaken); our science and math education in the public schools sagging behind other Western nations; an electorate which is less and less knowledgeable and engaged in the body politic; an economy geared to the continued purchase of needless consumer goods; scores of our citizens retreating from an uncomfortable reality into the realm of religious fantasy, and so on ad infinitum.
    IF ONLY…

  10. Ad Hominid

    “Of course, the only downside to wishing for an alternative history like this is that if it had started with events before the moment of your conception, you would almost certainly not be around to experience the results of that history!”

    An advantage of being old, I suppose. I was born in 1948, before the “hinge-point” in Man Conquers Space, so I would probably still be around to enjoy it if it had really happened.

    The great Harry Turtledove allows for this factor in those of his works that cover a long period of time. His 11 volume Great War series, for example, covers a period of over 80 years, with the eve of the battle of Antietam in 1862 as the hinge-point.
    People born before that time, Teddy Roosevelt, George Custer, John J. Pershing, etc. are substantially the same in the alternate history, though their life histories are sometimes very different (and much longer in one case).
    People born after the hinge-point are either completely fictitious or semi-fictitious; that is, they have the same background and at least one of the same parents as a real person but are born at different times and are therefore different in sometimes important respects. For example, a “General Daniel MacArthur” has the same father as his real-world counterpart, Douglas (born in 1880), and fills basically the same historical niche but is a very different person in some crucial ways.

  11. This movie may be interesting to you and me, but will only serve to confuse the average John Q. Popcorn, who is already confused enough by reality itself.

  12. Chauncy Gardener

    Man “Conquers” Space

    All one needs to know about the prevailing mentality…

  13. Supernova

    @Chauncy: Not to mention “Man” Conquers Space. Sigh.

  14. Ad Hominid

    Well, Chauncey, we would be happy to provide foreign aid to space as an alternative if you can find someone to cash the checks.

  15. Yojimbo

    Brilliant! Bonestell and von Braun and Ley, et al, created my vision of the future. I don’t know how many times I drew the moon lander as a kid. This will definitely be a “must see” for me.

    How come the future never came? We got ripped off.

  16. Tom

    Looks interesting. I’d like to see it, mainly for the eye candy. Seeing a delicately-winged craft land on Mars almost made me laugh out loud, because at the time of the Collier’s article, people believed that Mars had a thin atmosphere like Colorado had a thin atmosphere. Any sadness would depend on what kind of socio-political gyrations they need to go through to make the sort of timeline shown in the preview feasible.

  17. Chauncy and Supernova:

    Boo. Hoo. Would you prefer “Humyns Engage In A Mutually Beneficial Relationship With Space?”

    We’re very sorry that our language doesn’t fit the Sapir-Whorf archetype you’d like where everyone is full of perfect equality and warm hugs for everyone. This probably stems from the fact that, well, we’re not perfect. Admittedly, femninism and joy-joy understanding in language has indicated that what we says show bias. As long as we recognize that bias, I think we’ll live.

    “Man” Conquers Space: I’m pretty sure we mean “everybody.” As in “humanity.” We recognize that women are all Man too.

    (“Hey, Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?” “No. Have you?”)

    Man “Conquers” Space: Darn tootin’ we do. And we’re gonna OPPRESS all those masses of indigenous moon rocks and pollute the waterless seas and destroy the nonexistant biomes for the betterment of our glorious sentient species!

  18. Ad Hominidon 17 Dec 2007 at 1:08 pm

    Well, Chauncey, we would be happy to provide foreign aid to space as an alternative if you can find someone to cash the checks.

    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

    I’m not sure it would be considered “foreign aid” to space. I think it would be more like space taxing us. :)

    I didn’t see it on the site but is this a movie basically being made by a couple guys in a basement?

  19. > I didn’t see it on the site but is this a movie basically being made by a couple guys in a basement?

    As anyone who plays EVE Online will tell you, this is how REAL MEN Conquer Space!

    Me, on the other hand, only know secondhand because my ex-roommate played/plays it a lot. Just too… well… I can’t even say time-sinkish. More like Progress Quest. “No, really, the combat requires strategy!” “It looks like you’re just orbiting at optimal range, firing stuff.” “You need to change weapons sometimes, and decide when to run for it!” “Ah.”

  20. If you like “Man Conquers Space” (which isn’t released yet), take a look at: postcardsfromthefuture.net/

    :-J

  21. Mark

    Space.

    July 20th, 1969 was just days before my 9th birthday.

    Nothing was impossible.
    With Science and human Will and Ingenuity, even the moon was within our grasp.

    By my 19th birthday, I realized that it takes more than Science, Will and Ingenuity to get into Space. At the time, I thought my dreams were being knifed by cowardly accountant types that protested that the money should be spent on Earth rather than in Space.

    Then, later, I realized that the real reason humanity is not out there is because there is no “gold”. Countless lives were lost exploring the New World because there was money in it. Look at aviation. Lots of money and lots of lives spent on aviation. So, when we can identify the “gold” in space, that is when we will conquer it.

    And I think we are on the verge of finding that gold – tourism. I would absolutely pay dearly for a 1 minute ride on the moon – even if it is themed with Sponge Bob. :D

  22. Donnie B.

    >> Yojimbo said:
    >> How come the future never came? We got ripped off.

    Hey, if we’d spent all our resources on space exploration, we’d have never wiped out poverty, eliminated cancer, won the war on drugs, and achieved world peace and social harmony!

    Would you really have traded all that for a few lonely outposts on Mars?

    /snark

  23. Tom

    >Man “Conquers” Space

    >All one needs to know about the prevailing mentality…

    >@Chauncy: Not to mention “Man” Conquers Space. Sigh.

    Considering the title is related to the article that the movie is based on, I think it’s pretty cool.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_Will_Conquer_Space_Soon!

    If they changed the name, I’m sure someone else would be displeased.

  24. penny

    Maybe, if the classical world hadn’t fallen, we would be 1500 years past our civilization destroying nuclear war?

    I really don’t care if we send men to mars,
    or back to the moon–scientifically, it isn’t so important.

    Instead, we have invested heavily in understanding biology–such things as the human genome, vastly improved computers and electronics, solved most of the famous open mathematics problems of the 20th century, discovered the quark, invented the laser, explored the planets with
    robot probes, built and used space telescopes, discovered extrasolar planets,
    developed the theory of Black holes and found them, developed MRI and CAT and
    Organ Transplants etc.

    Gee, maybe people should be less depressed. There is only so much time and talent–and it was quite well spent.

  25. penny

    You can keep Mars. Give me medicine based on stem cells and telomeres and life extending genes!

    While we are at it, maybe we can find a way to raise human intelligence?

  26. MattFunke

    Mark: Then, later, I realized that the real reason humanity is not out there is because there is no “gold”. Countless lives were lost exploring the New World because there was money in it. Look at aviation. Lots of money and lots of lives spent on aviation. So, when we can identify the “gold” in space, that is when we will conquer it.

    I disagree. The best reason to go out into space is ultimately to find out how to live there, not to try to figure out what we can bring back.

    If we must look at your New World analogy, consider the countries that sent back gold — primarily Spain and Portugal. Their economies were ruined by both the enormous expense of making round trips with all amenities on board as well as the sudden, massive influx of precious material that used to be much more rare.

    On the other hand, there were the Dutch, the English, and the French, who had people go to the New World and set up camp. Their settlements weren’t exactly flashy, and the goods they sent back were humble: furs, food, and the like. But they built empires. (The United States — a country that sent people to the Moon — owes a great deal of its political philosophy to England, for example.)

    We need to send people out there so that they can eventually create great societies of their own, not so that they can find some magical McGuffin and bring it back to justify the cost of sending them.

  27. > You can keep Mars. Give me medicine based on stem cells and telomeres and life extending genes!

    Bah. Upload for a better humanity!

    METAL IS BETTER THAN MEAT!

    Plus, uploading means no ELSS mass and allows for proper MANLY CONQUEST OF SPACE! RAWR!

  28. Gary Ansorge

    Matt Funke:

    Energy is the gold and not something that would ruin the home bound economy. It will become the single most important reason for settling the High Frontier, especially when people finally come to the conclusion that home grown solar power has severe limitations, like interference with local wind patterns(wind power), ocean current mixing of nutrients(wave power), fertilizer overflow into the gulf of Mexico from growing corn for ethanol and the subsequent creation of “dead zones”, excessive land requirements for solar cells electric generation, etc, etc, etc,,,,

    Granted, high orbit solar power generation has its problems, but at least they don’t garbage the local ecology by interfering with local wind, water and nutrient mixing patterns.

    GAry 7

  29. MattFunke

    Gary Ansorge: Energy is the gold and not something that would ruin the home bound economy. It will become the single most important reason for settling the High Frontier,

    Perhaps in the near term, yes, but that’s not nearly as important in the long run as learning to live there. I also submit that there would be some major economic reshuffling if solar power satellites got up and running in a serious way. They’re much better for the ecology, certainly, and I wish we’d get down to using them much more quickly than we are, but as the rules change for who acquires energy from the source, who distributes it, and how much it costs, don’t think that it will leave the home economy significantly unperturbed.

  30. Gary writes:

    [[home grown solar power has severe limitations, like interference with local wind patterns(wind power), ocean current mixing of nutrients(wave power), fertilizer overflow into the gulf of Mexico from growing corn for ethanol and the subsequent creation of “dead zones”, excessive land requirements for solar cells electric generation, etc, etc, etc,,,,
    ]]

    The amount of energy involved in air motion in Earth’s atmosphere is several orders of magnitude greater than anything we can tap with windmills in the foreseeable future. And ground-based solar thermal power is doing just fine. They even use molten salts to store extra heat during the day so the plants can run at night. Some STEC plants run almost 24/7. I’d much rather have solar and wind power than either fossil fuel or nuclear… or space solar power, which has severe technical problems of its own. Do you know how fast materials and instruments degrade in cislunar space? Do you remember how much it cost to fix the Hubble?

  31. How come the future never came? We got ripped off.

    Yeah, all we got was this stupid global information infrastructure that allows us to choose from hundreds of TV shows, buy music from our living rooms, publish our own journals so that anyone on Earth can read them, carry pocket phones, index vast amounts of data for quick retrieval, view photographic maps that have enough resolution to see cars on the road, install tracking devices in our cars that can pinpoint our location within feet, and watch pornography involving any fetish conceivable.

    What a gyp. The world would be so much better with rocket ships and flying cars.

  32. Mark A. Siefert

    Ah yes, a different time. A time when humans had fortitude of the gonads; we actually trusted science rather than tried to supress it; and we didn’t hide under our beds calling for an 1000 volume report be written each time a chip of paint fell of our space craft while all flights are scrubbed for the next three years.

    Pity we’ve become to fat, comfortable, and risk adverse to realize a future in space. That sort of thing takes will; a will this nation of cowards and wimps no longer have.

  33. > That sort of thing takes will; a will this nation of cowards and wimps no longer have.

    Especially when they cringe over what synonym of “humanity” to use and find the concept of “conquest” distasteful, even if all that’s getting conquered is dead rock, some more dead rock, a colorful bit of dead rock, some reddish dead rock, a dusty dead rock, and, to change things up, some probably dead ice.

  34. Yes, my children,”the world would be so much better with rocket ships and flying cars.” The people who would make and use these wonders would not sit and stare into their navels and try to invent new synonyms for “Man” or at “pornography involving any fetish conceivable.” They would too busy going to new worlds and using information found on their world info net to solve real problems and mtsteries. Istead, in our perfect “real” world they sit in their little rooms and watch TV drivel, post their semi-literate online journals, look at photographic maps of places they can’t find on a map, and obsess over their cell phones like a missed call will be the cause of their death and the possible destruction of the little world they know.

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