Geo016 - Exploration of Mars

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Geo016 / Exploration of Mars / (M) 3:00-5:20 / Lincoln Field 105 / Prof. James Head

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Josef Tallo (03/03/04)

The soviets, according to Dr. Sergei Khrushev, had no intentions on sending humans into space; it was Korolev who wanted to become popular by being the first one to send humans into space. I was very surprised to hear this, for I had assumed that space exploration had been an effort between government and design team. He then stated that during his childhood, space exploration was no more important than going sailing, I believe. He also stated that the main motivating factor in the design and development of intercontinental launch missiles and space rockets were due to the fact that the Soviet Union was fearful that if they were incapable of sending a missile over long distances, then the US would destroy their country. It seems as if there was a lot of tension between the US and Russia, and often there were misunderstandings which led to mistrusts and fears.

Dr. Khrushev also stated that the Soviets didn't care about the what Korolev was doing, and he always was given the ok by the Soviet government to go ahead with the space programs, which makes me wonder where he would get the funding from. Because, if it weren't that important to the government, and the provided a significant amount of funding towards the development of space vehicles, that wouldn't make any sense. I didn't get a chance to ask him, because we ran out of time, but I would like to know the source of the funding of many of the Soviet Space Programs.

Another issue that was discussed was the fact that in Russia during that time, according to Dr. Khrushev, the news of the launch of the first Russian space missile wasn't a big deal. People didn't seem to care, and the newspapers didn't seem to portray the event as a big deal. It wasn't until the US responded, which caused all the hype in Russia. I don't really understand why another countries opinion or response to something that has happened to another country could make such an impact on an entire country in a few days.

Another issue that arose during conversation was when Dr. Khrushev was the issue of competition. Competition has been brought upon probably because the US is know for it's scientific and military prestige, and the “threat” from Russia caused the two countries to develop an ongoing competition that undoubtedly can be contributed to the advancement of technology worldwide. For had this fierce competition of trying to be the first country to get a man on the moon not happened, we wouldn't have the web, telecommunications, or such sophisticated computers. There would have no motive to force the advancement in technology to move at such a fast pace. The two countries both needed to develop high powered engines, satellites, and advanced electronic computer systems to operate the rockets.


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