July 18, 2009
Spacing out

The real time transcripts of the Apollo 11 mission are proving to be an even better experience than I had hoped. After making the site I found out about all the other sites doing similar things - but they're either leaving out some of the ugly detail - losing the realism - or doing "educational CD-ROM"-like material around it - losing the forced focus of just people in real time. By a happy coincidence, I haven't really found the experience Morten and I did anywhere else.

Growing up I was a full on bookish space child. Did fake meteor craters dropping stuff into pans filled with flour. Me and my brother had a rocket-on-a-string setup made of LEGO for a long time where we staged launches to the moon/ceiling. I read every book I could find with space in it. Reconstructed the scale of things in space in the garden. But the funny thing is that none of that gave any kind of experience remotely like this reenactment. The rigidity, for lack of a better word, of the experience; just having to wait for things to occur, and not skipping the tedious parts mixed in with the exciting bits, really makes the scope of the mission come to life.
Somehow the garden space reconstructions didn't sell the baffling size of space as well as a 3 day cruise to cover one light second of space at 5000 km/h.
It's shocking how manual everything is. Presumably there's telemetry to Apollo - but numbers are constantly being read manually back and forth over the radio to check that the capsule idea of what the status is matches that on the ground - an interface design lesson there, btw. Procedures and manuals for proper operation are being rewritten on the fly dictated over the air.

Posted by Claus at July 18, 2009 12:32 AM | TrackBack (0)
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