bok_rev_cunio - Review of Marina Benjamins Rocket Dreams...

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Review of Marina Benjamin’s Rocket Dreams Prepared for Professor David Mindell Massachusetts Institute of Technology 16.895 Spring 2007 By Phillip M. Cunio
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MIT 16.895 Phillip M. Cunio April 2, 2007 Introduction Marina’s Benjamin’s Rocket Dreams investigates what she sees as the redirection of the human psychological drive following the simultaneously crowning and killing achievement of the Apollo program, the Moon landing. To Benjamin, the legacies of Project Apollo are a handful of dead, rusting relics at Cape Canaveral and the quotidian extension of NASA’s work into satellites, robotic probes, and other less-spectacular regimes, which together represent the death of the space program’s early promises. Summary Benjamin traces the impact of the dead and changed dreams as a rechanneling of the human urges to meet others and explore new frontiers. With actual space travel languishing, she investigates the Kennedy Space Center, the purported alien landings at Roswell, the latest “new frontier” of cyberspace, and the fusion of cyberspace and outer space embodied by the [email protected] project. Benjamin’s disappointment in NASA’s failure to realize the grandest dreams of the Space Age’s early prophets shows in the first chapter. What others see as the abundant roadside greenery of Central Florida is to her the swamp trying to reclaim the works of man, presumably in order to wash out the bitter taste left behind by the unfulfilled dreams. Roswell’s annual UFO Festival shows the next logical step for the dreamers: changing faith in humankind’s self-generated destiny among the stars to faith that aliens will share their star-traveling destiny with us. She also logs on to the virtual Alphaworld and interacts with the users there, noting how many virtual worlds become more real than the real world to some of their users, and how the internet promotes freedom of thought and expression, much as the American West is imagined to have done. She finally brings together the two in her chapter on [email protected], which uses the power of the internet, via distributed computing software freely available online, to extend the analysis of Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence data. Critical Reaction and Examination of Sources
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2011 for the course AERO 16.872 taught by Professor Danielhastings during the Fall '03 term at MIT.

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bok_rev_cunio - Review of Marina Benjamins Rocket Dreams...

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