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  • Like the Industrial or the Einsteinian Revolution, the Space Race is a trope, or way of organizing

  • historical events into a story that makes sense.

  • In this story, the two great powers that emerged after World War Twothe United States and

  • Soviet Unioncompeted to send communications satellites, dogs, and people into outer space

  • And also to intimidate the other side with the prospect of nuclear war.

  • But before humans could send anything into space, first they had to get into earth's atmosphere.

  • [Intro Music Plays]

  • Folks dreamed about flying up into the heavens for centuries. You might have seen Leonardo

  • Da Vinci's sketches for personal flying machines, for example. But these didn't

  • work. Starting around CE 220 in China, people have

  • used unmanned sky lanternshot air balloonsto help messages escape the ground for everything

  • from military signaling to festivals.

  • And human hot air balloons became popular in Europe in the late 1700s, starting in France.

  • But these devices didn't travel fast; they couldn't handle strong winds; and they weren't

  • very safe. So historians tend to start the history of

  • air travel with two dudes from a large family, Orville and Wilbur Wright.

  • These bros ran a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio. Actually, let's be clear, their sister Katherine

  • ran the household and handled their business finances.

  • But the brothers wanted to build a flying machine. And at the end of the Second Industrial

  • Revolutionthey did! Orville and Wilbur made lots of gliders, and

  • eventually a powered plane. They used wood and fabric, with a petrol-powered internal

  • combustion engine and some bicycle parts. And keep in mind, the bicycle itself was only

  • twenty-five years old! But first, they collected tons of data about

  • wing shapes and air flow using a small homemade wind tunnel.

  • People had tried to build flying machines, sure. But the Wrights used physical data to

  • design one. And then the brothers took off on the first

  • heavier-than-air flight on December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk in the Outer Banks of North

  • Carolina. They made four flights on that first day. None was very long or high by modern

  • standards, but all were extraordinary in 1903. The Wrights wanted to commercialize their

  • fliers. But it took a while before peopleother than the aviation-obsessed Frenchto believe

  • that they had actually flown. Eventually, however, the Wrights conducted

  • more demonstrations and convinced the U.S. military to invest. Aviation took off for

  • war, but also for mail and passenger services. With a more advanced engine, Charles Lindbergh

  • flew across the Atlantic in 1927. And by the early 1930s, well-off passengers could ride

  • commercial airlines. This revolutionized the whole tourism and cargo industries. And global

  • culture: it made the world feel smaller.

  • In terms of technical effects, air travel spawned whole industries. Think about the

  • many integrated technologies that allow you to fly: fuel refining, baggage processing,

  • ticketing, air traffic control, and so on. And, despite our angry tweets, commercial

  • air travel is one big, highly functioning, and safe system today.

  • But air IS NOT space. Flying using a jet engine in a plane with

  • fixed wings can get you highinto the cold, oxygen-low strata of the atmosphere. But to

  • escape the pull of earth's gravity, you need more power.

  • The solution? A really big chemical reaction. Basically: an explosion. The inspiration for

  • the solution? Science fiction. In 1865, French adventure writer Jules Verne

  • wrote a book called From the Earth to the Moon. In it, members of a gun club decide

  • to go the moon by creatingwait for it—a giant gun!

  • Verne saw American settler-colonization as a great adventure. Why not head to the moon

  • and exploit the Mooninites!? So science fiction matters! It influences

  • how we, including real-life scientists and engineers, think about what the future can

  • be. In this case, Verne was notable for trying to imagine a pretty dang realistic plan for

  • space exploration, given nineteenth-century technology.

  • Still, real-life giant gun-making, AKA rocket science, didn't take off immediately. Between

  • Verne and World War Two, the discipline of chemistry took off, especially in Germany.

  • Scientists had access to new materials that had simply never existed before.

  • So leading up to the warand directly inspired by Verne's novelNazi physicist Doctor

  • Wernher von Braun developed chemical reactions that could propel a weapon far, far away.

  • And late in World War Two, the Nazis launched his V-2 rocketsthe first long-range, guided

  • ballistic missileagainst England, killing civilians.

  • But after the war, guess who forgave this Nazi's crimes to make use of his engineering

  • genius? Yup: the U S of A. Von Braun became Director of the Marshall Space Flight Center

  • at NASA. Like airplanes, rockets changed warfare forever.

  • Missiles replaced long-range bombers for delivering nuclear weapons. And thus the Cold War began:

  • Russians and Americans could now strike anywhere in the world. Apocalypse was only a button

  • away.

  • (By the waythis is still the case!) It's good to think about how we tell the

  • history of the invention of weapons. For example, one curator at the Smithsonian argued that

  • rockets on display there should be pointed down, so that visitors would be confronted

  • with destructionrather than pointed up and away, which implies victory without consequences.

  • With new German-designed rockets, Soviet and American engineers competed to fly farther.

  • Much of the Cold War relates to this Space Race.

  • It began when the USSR launched the first satellite, Sputnik, on October 4, 1957. This

  • shocked the world and terrified many in the United States.

  • Only a few years later, in 1961, the Soviet Union sent the first human into space. Yuri

  • Gagarin made one whole orbit of earth in a Vostok spacecraft, becoming the first cosmonautor

  • space sailor.” Like Sputnik's launch, Gagarin's flight

  • was utterly mind-blowing. It symbolized just how far the Soviet physical sciences had come,

  • very quickly. Out of an empire of serfs, the USSR had evolved into a scientific leader

  • capable of breaking new groundincluding cultural ones.

  • In 1963, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova piloted Vostok 6, bringing womankind to space.

  • She's still alive, by the wayand has offered to take a one-way trip to Mars!

  • So how did the Americans respond to all this? In 1961, U.S. President John Kennedy publicly

  • threw down a major scientific challenge: “to land a man on the moon before the decade is

  • out.” Bam! Verne strikes again! The Mercury program of the early 1960s put

  • Americans into space. But the Apollo program successfully landed humans on the moon.

  • ThoughtBubble, show us the wonder of moon travel:

  • This program was complex, but it boiled down to a few components: Using advanced computers

  • to chart a course to get to the moon, crossing thousands and thousands of miles.

  • Training pilots to be astronautsorstar sailors.”

  • Designing a command module that could land on the moon and then take off again.

  • And building a rocket to leave the earth with enough force to carry not a small satellite,

  • but astronauts, in a module. The launch vehicle that got humans to the

  • moon was the Saturn series, designed by Wernher von Braun's team. Like other giant liquid-fuel

  • rockets, it worked by mixing chemicals that would react violently, creating tremendous

  • force that was directed straight down, sending the vehicle up in the opposite direction.

  • In this case, the chemicals were liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen, androcket propellant

  • one,” or RP-1. Which is basically kerosene that has a bunch of dangerous chemicals added

  • to make it super explosive. After several missions, and a few disasters,

  • NASA felt they could safely send humans to the moon and back in 1969.

  • So on July 16, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins took off

  • from Merritt Island, Florida, on the eleventh Apollo mission.

  • On July 20, their Eagle lander touched down in the moon's Sea of Tranquility. Neil Armstrong

  • became the first human to set foot on a planetary body other than earth. He was joined by Buzz

  • Aldrin. As young men on vacation will do, Buzz and

  • Neil planted the flag of the United States, took some moon-selfies, called President Nixon,

  • and stole some moon-rocks. Total hooligans! And then they returned to earth, four days

  • after landing on the moon. Thanks ThoughtBubble. There are lots of movies

  • about the Apollo program's numerous successes and even one of its terrifying failures, Apollo

  • Thirteen. Which was arguably the most successful mission, by the way, because NASA was able

  • to correct the disaster! And the Apollo program was as much a managerial

  • success as it is a technical one. It's a great example of big scienceresearch projects

  • so big that no individual lab can do everything from beginning to end, so work is broken off

  • into chunks. Like the Manhattan Project. But not all big space science has been about

  • winning wars. Take the Hubble Space Telescope, Mars rover, or Cassini-Huygens satellite.

  • The epistemic value of these missions is incalculable. Their practical utility, almost zero.

  • Alas, space exploration is super expensive, and Congress has to choose how to spend taxpayers'

  • money. On the same day that they cancelled funding for the revolutionary physics experiment,

  • the Supercollider Superconductor, in 1993, they approved funding the space shuttle. This

  • was a big loss to particle physics, but a win for astronauts.

  • The shuttle program itself was retired in 2011. One response to this lack of public

  • funding has been an explosion of private space agencies, developing space tourism.

  • Another solution has been international collaboration: despite persisting political tensions, Russia

  • and the United States collaborate on space science today!

  • Perhaps most notably, since 1998, Americans, Russians, Japanese, Europeans, and Canadians

  • have worked together to run experiments on the International Space Station.

  • It's above us right nowhumanity's only outpost beyond the safety of the atmosphere,

  • and a physical symbol of how the quest to understand our universe can bring us together.

  • All this space travel has given us new epistēmē—such as better understandings of the age of the

  • universe AKA everything. And new technē—including solar cells, freeze drying, digital cameras,

  • GPS, and better weather prediction. It's also given us modern communications technologies.

  • And, oh yeah, spy satellites.

  • But space science has also filled space with tons of junk, including rocket parts, dead

  • satellites, and human waste. Which raises the question of whose job is

  • it to clean up? That is, who owns space!? Well, space law generally says that no one

  • gets to own space. But that becomes problematic for geosynchronous

  • orbits, or circular paths, 35,786 kilometers above sea level, that follow the rotation

  • of the planet and so are fixed above specific points on earth. You can only have so many

  • satellites at useful geosynchronous points. The US, Russia, China, and EU already have

  • many of the best spots. This is another way that equatorial countries face an unequal

  • landscape in science. So space science raises tough questions about

  • power and knowledge, shared resources and competitions between nations. But there's

  • only one earth, and space science also provides some good models on how to share.

  • After all, the Apollo project was named after the Greek god of music, truth, and healingnot

  • war. As President Kennedy said in 1962: “…We

  • shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of

  • knowledge and understanding.” Next timewe're coming back to solid ground,

  • with a new perspective on earth's place in a vast universe. It's the birth of ecology

  • and earth systems science!

  • Crash Course History of Science is filmed in the Dr. Cheryl C. Kinney studio in Missoula, MT and it's made

  • with the help of all these nice people. And our animation team is Thought Cafe.

  • Crash Course is a Complexly production. If you want to keep imagining the world complexly

  • with us, check out some of our other channels like Sexplanations, Health Care Triage, and

  • Mental Floss.

  • If you'd like to keep Crash Course free for everyone, forever, you can support the series

  • at Patreon, a crowdfunding platform that allows you to support the content you love.

  • Thank you to all of our patrons for making Crash Course possible with their continued support.

Like the Industrial or the Einsteinian Revolution, the Space Race is a trope, or way of organizing

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空の旅と宇宙競争:科学のクラッシュコースの歴史 #37 (Air Travel and The Space Race: Crash Course History of Science #37)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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