Friday, 30 September 2011

long march or sky palace of first heaven

The Chinese space administration has initiated a very major technical and also visionary project--first as a sandbox to develop docking and maneuvering capabilities and on to grander things, of placing the first component of an unmanned space-station in orbit. I think some innovators really started to lose their edge for substance and symbol after the Space Race of the Cold War, and what with a lot of large scale science programmes being mothballed or decommissioned, this I think is a positive advancement. The people who realized Skylab had some back-handed congratulations for China, saying that China was making strides but they had accomplished the same thing back in the 1970s. China, the European Space Agency and others, however, are not just playing catch-up--by no means were the possibilities and avenues of exploration exhausted by the pioneering players. A lot of exciting things still are going in the cosmos and discoveries are being made, but it is important, I think, to be able to captivate people's imaginations with such a permanent presence and flagship enterprise--and not just with brute computing and tele-commuting.