Hello there. I am a soon-to-be 22 years old student of applied physics.
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Why space? What does it mean to you? Why does it interest you? What inspired you or sparked your original interest?
It is not easy to elaborate why am I interested in space. It is like when people ask me questions like why is black my favorite colour, or why do I like a particular smell or taste. I do not know how to immediately react to seemingly simple questions. One instance, when walking in a narrow, very thin passage flanked with various shops, a classmate asked me whether it stinks there or not. I answered a yes/no question with "I haven't ever thought about that", to which he wondered why am I so philosophical about it. I feel like interests and hobbies often just happen to be or not to be without a set reason. However, I will try provide a satisfactory answer to your other questions.
I can say for certain that I have been interested in space and astronomy since before elementary school. Not many people out of all are into astronomy, but I always managed to be in a class at school with at least one like-minded individual to share thoughts and knowledge with. My interest in space may stem from me being naturally curious about the unknown, and this unknown, space, is huge. That's where we get to what space means to me. The size and estimated age of the universe shows us how small and insignificant we are in comparison to it, that how very little we know and how much there is to discover and find out about how things work. Take the time since Galileo Galilei aimed his telescope at Jupiter and compared it's system of moons to the Solar system. About 400 years have passed since his discovery of Jupiter's array of moons, the miniature Solar system. The ratio of four hundred years to the age of the universe is the same as the ratio of time it takes me to water my chili pepper plants to my current age. You don't water your plants and look at them for about twenty seconds and suddenly become expert in how to care for them, what temperatures and humidity they prefer, how spicy are pots each species produces, and the list goes on... 20 seconds of looking is simply not enough to know all there is about chilies, just as 400 years is not enough to get to know all ins and outs of the universe. This is what fascinates me the most about space, how little we know.
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Your information & communication practices: How do you personally follow, learn about, and participate in space technology, science, and projects? Do you work or volunteer on any projects? How? Do you play any other space-related games? Lists, examples, or links are great and very much appreciated! How do you stay up-to-date with the space-related news and events that interest you? What news sites do you check, what newsletters do you subscribe to, what chats do you run, which podcasts and livestreams do you listen to/watch, which accounts, people, institutions, projects do you follow on social media, which channels and platforms? How do you learn new things to do with space? How do you access and share resources? What do your networks look like? How many people do you interact with? What kinds of content do you produce and share?
I have attended a summer camp focused on practical amateur astronomy six summer holidays in a row. Once I also participated in an astronomy olympiad while at high school. The results were not very.. overwhelming, but sufficient for my physics teacher who was in contact with employees of my city's local planetarium, so I was invited to prepare a few presentations for the public. One of them was about the life cycles of low and high mass stars. I did not get to present them myself, which I am glad for, since I am like a deer in the headlights in front of a crowd, but the planetarium offered me a course in astronomy for free, so why not attending it too. I did not proceed further, but it is experience what matters.
I occasionally play Freelancer, a game from 2003. Long story short, West and East wage a war for so long that nobody knows who started. Eventually, the East gains the upper hand and the West sees no other solution but to build five colony ships, fill them up with human colonists in stasis and escape the Solar system. They settle in Sirius Sector, a star cluster or whatever, each ship carrying a different nation. Eight centuries later, that's when the Freelancer campaign is set, the colonies are infiltrated by aliens called the Nomads and turned on one another to soften the humans up before they plan to come in themselves. Shocker, the aliens in the end lose.
I check up a few youtube channels. I would not say that I do so regularly, but I tend to check Vsauce and Kurzgesacht on occasion. I do not subscribe or take any other active part in most cases. I tend to just be the reader and watcher, meaning, I do not have my own platform, blog or anything in that sense. Space Engine forums is an exception, not that I am any active anyway. I prefer to read other peoples' discussions, rather than directly participate. However, when I discuss, it is fruitful. A good example would be me trying to figure out how to calculate luminosity curve for a pulsating variable star with Watsisname. It starts here
and finishes on the next page. This dilema showed me that things are not always as simpe as they appear at first.
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SpaceEngine – why do you like it? Why and how do you use it? What do you think you learn, access, or ‘get’ out of it? How do you play and interact with others in the community (eg. Discussions on other forums or chat services, making/sharing mods, sharing music, sharing scientific or educational resources, etc.)?
Well this question is easier to answer, I like it for it's aim towards realism and it's high graphical quality. I use it to just fly around and mostly for creating stellar system addons for others to download. I am most fond of the planets from Stargate I have created, since it is my favorite series from childhood and I have also re-created Sirius Sector from the game Freelancer I mentioned above. Here is the link
. What can I get out of it? I think it is like with other games, enjoyment, chilling down a bit.. you get the idea.
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Past, present, future possibilities for Humans: 1. Living and working with space and the environment; 2. Living and working with technology. What are contemporary issues in the space industry and its communities? What moments, events, people, organisations, companies, technologies, places, etc. were important or significant in the past? What about now? What about in the future – what do you think will be important? What possibilities and visions for the future of humans & space, humans & technology do you think would be the best? Worst? Most likely? Based on what – ie., how could we guarantee or avoid them? Have your visions or ideas been influenced by anything (like popular news stories, policy documents, movies or books, etc.)? Histories, stories, wild speculation, maps, links, videos, etc. are all great!!
Now I am going to get pessimistic and misanthropic.
It is at this moment, not possible to coexist with the environment. I see two main reasons. At first, Earth is inhabited by more people that it can sustain. Up to 50% of the world population lives in poverty, depending on how you define poverty. 10% is illiterate. There are not enough resources for us to use. The second reason is lack of will from above, governments and corporations. Only object of concern for these subjects is their wallet and power, no matter how much carbon dioxide and other waste is created. I do not think the planet can be rendered uninhabitable during one human lifetime, which brings me to the cause of why are we damaging the environment and not giving it nearly enough attention, we are incredibly short-sighted, not thinking about consequences in longer time frames.
Science and technology can be a tool for doing both good and harm. Unfortunately, scientific advance is primarily motivated by the desire for control, power and dominance over others, which we have inherited from animals. Animal packs have alphas, who lead. Other strong specimen fight and compete with alphas for power and territory. The difference between us and a wolf pack is, that wolves do not have weapons of mass destruction. Speaking of motivation for scientific advance, we have used a nuclear fission bomb in a war conflict, twice, sooner than the first nuclear reactor was grid-connected. Few years later we developed a hydrogen bomb, over half a century later we are still unable to use nuclear fusion to generate power. Granted, destruction is easier that construction, that is all about entropy, universe tends to become less organized, but that is a whole different topic. The point is, that war is the best motivation for scientific and technological advance. We may not have made it to the Moon in sixties without German research into ballistic missiles.
The main issue in space industry is the lack of funds. US military has much more than NASA, as an example.
Visions... I just hope than we won't replace nuclear weapons with death stars. I think the best way to make sure this won't happen, at least between humans, is to unify. I am speaking about a world government. It is currently impossible to implement due to all of our cultural, religious and other differences. I am afraid, at the present time, it seems that the most likely chain of events to install a world government is a couple more world wars with one side eventually emerging undoubtedly victorius, on the other hand, we may end up wiping ourselves out while doing this, given how resourceful are humans when it comes to looking for ways to neutralize the opponent.
Conclusion, there are two ways to a world government, quick and bloody, or slow, patient, in hope that humanity will come to it's senses and settle the differences some way else but wars. We need and must resolve our problems here on Earth first, before expanding into space.
I would like to dig into these question deeper, but right now my clock shows quarter to two. I hope you get something from this reading.