Monday, March 29, 2004

Reply to Post #1

In order to understand why the alien invasion in Orwell's War of the Worlds was so believable to the people of the time (1938) one must better understand the time. People in the past were much more innocent/gullible then we are today. The announcer on the radio was saying aliens were landing so they believed him. However, today we have become numb to the media; we no longer trust it. If we turned on the radio and someone was saying aliens were landing we’d probably just be annoyed and change the station, not giving it another thought. We would do this because we see the tabloids titled “Elvis and 5 headed Alien have 400Lbs midget love child.” Also with movies like Independence Day where we “see” the aliens invading earth we know it’s not true. No one in the theater ran out screaming, “Oh my God the aliens are coming!” We are still gullible today however it takes a great deal more to get us to believe a media story. If the source is credible and not been known to lie and shows clear evidence, we might believe them.

Posted By Scott

Reply to post #1:

Ignorance of the media exists in a lot of areas as well, even beyond space and technology. People can use statistics and data to make people think there is scientific/experimental support for almost anything. Depending on the way the data is collected, experimenters can claim to be testing for one thing, when in reality it is testing for something completely different or yet to be thought of. For example, someone might be claiming to test for the effectiveness of different types of rocket fuel, yet will be inconsistent with the time of day or weather conditions. For a company whose fuel is actually less useful, this data gathering manipulation can make them look like their fuel is the best. This is true in so many cases that people will often just ignore all data presented and assume that there was some manipulation that caused it to look a certain way. The only time you can really be sure about data is when the source and method of gathering it is established. Naturally, if more people would just be honest instead of being so money hungry, things would be a lot better.

Posted by Ben
Reply to Post #1:

Fictional movies, television shows, and novels may be a reason of why so many people are skeptical about believing in the realities of space exploration and future possibilities that exist in this area. For example, movies such as “Star Trek”, “Stargate”, or “Lost in Space” are either set so far in the future or contain technologies that are so distant from the present that they make people hesitant to believe in the possibilities that may exist today or in the near future. Some of these movies are either about ships that travel light years through the universe, a gate that can instantly transport one to another planet, or about some other futuristic technology. These ideas are hard to conceive and discourage people from believing in any type of space exploration. Lately, there have been a few movies whose plots are based on the more realistic ideas. “Red Planet” and “Mission to Mars” are both about a space journey to the planet Mars. While a manned mission to Mars may still be decades away, it is still a much more believable possibility than a trip across the universe at the speed of light. A trip to Mars is an idea that has actually undergone serious discussion. More movies such as these may decrease the level of skepticism that currently exists with space technology.

Posted by Steven

Reply to Post #1

On August 7, 1996, a historic press conference was held at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. News that scientists had found evidence of life in a Mars meteorite had leaked out, and NASA had to make an announcement. A few minutes before, President Clinton made these remarks at the White House before heading out on a trip to California:
"This is the product of years of exploration and months of intensive study by some of the world's most distinguished scientists. Like all discoveries, this one will and should continue to be reviewed, examined and scrutinized. It must be confirmed by other scientists... I am determined that the American space program will put its full intellectual power and technological prowess behind the search for further evidence of life on Mars."
At the press conference, several scientists from NASA and Stanford University announced their findings --they confirmed that they had found evidence of ancient, fossilized, microscopic life from a Martian meteorite, known as ALH84001. The meteorite was catapulted away from Mars fifteen million years ago when a huge comet or asteroid impacted the surface. The meteorite traveled through space for millions of years and then encountered the Earth. It entered Earth's atmosphere about thirteen thousand years ago and landed at Antarctica. The meteorite lay there until 1984, when a team from the NASA Johnson Space Center found it while exploring the Allan Hills ice field, and brought it back to Houston. It was initially classified as a lunar meteorite, but in 1993 was correctly identified as from Mars. It is one of only twelve "SNC" meteorites, which match the unique chemical signature of Mars.

The scientists talked their reasoning for the discovery. They had four independent lines of evidence, which, when taken together as a whole, ancient life on Mars is the logical conclusion. I think it would be pretty badass if there was life on Mars currently... or somewhere out there at least.

Posted by Roger
Reply to Post #1

As an avid viewer of the Science channel on television, I can vouch for believing what everyone else does. Many programs on that show have futuristic visions that can easily be believed and also easily be dismissed. One such vision is that on Europa, a moon of Jupiter, there is a sea of water underneath miles of ice. There is a belief that there is liquid water near the core of this moon because of warmth from friction. A belief that one day we will land a space craft there is nothing that can be dismissed. However, scientists believe that eventually they will be able to drill through the miles of ice, get down to the water below, and search for any living organisms. A similar experiment is already being done in Antarctica. However being able to do this millions of miles away is very easy to dismiss. There are many reasons that this could never happen. Not only do we need the technology to get there and drill, Europa sits in a belt of cosmic rays that would destroy any spacecraft we send there in 30 days. As you can see, you can believe anything you want to, but no one will know the truth unless they actually see it in person.

Posted by Rob

Friday, March 26, 2004

Post #1: Believe it or Not...

The main focus of our blog is on how people's perceptions of modern technology, including space travel and exploration, are easily influenced by the media. The origin of this phenomenon began with radio programs such as Orwell's War of the Worlds. In 1938 when people had little knowledge of space and what could possibly be beyond our atmosphere, they were willing to believe whatever they were told. As television became popular, people became better informed about what went on in the scientific community and believed less in what they heard, but now were more willing to believe in what they saw on the television. The same problem exists today with the Internet and other modern media, although in general people are much more knowledgeable than they have been in the past. However, along with better awareness from the creation of new technology, there has also been a rise in the number of people unwilling to accept anything that is presented in the media. In 1969 when the first lunar landing took place, many people believed that it was a hoax and that it was all filmed in the Arizona desert. Many people believe the same is true with today's Mars landings. The media can often convince the public of anything it wishes, but at the same time there will always be people who believe nothing that they hear on the radio, watch on the television, or read on the internet. We believe, because everybody else does.

Posted by Mike

Friday, March 19, 2004

This blog will focus on technology in space, and the ways which technology in the media and news can change society and skew people's ideas of what our modern capabilities are.
This group consists of Roger, Ben, Mike, Steven, Rob, Scott

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