Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Disney in Space: Mars and Beyond

I have always been fascinated by intellectual history and the history and philosophy of science in particular. As the great science writer Jacob Bronowski pointed out in his landmark book and television documentary series ‘The Ascent of Man’ it is very tempting to believe that the scientific and technological achievements of the past sixty years or so have no equal precedent. “Yet to admire only our own successes as if they had no past (and were sure of the future) is to make a caricature of knowledge. For human achievement, and science in particular, is not a museum of finished constructions. It is a progress….”

All the great scientific and technological ideas of our age have had their antecedents. This is particularly true of space exploration and the search for life beyond the Earth. Over the coming months I will outline some of earliest ideas and dreams of space travel and communicating with extraterrestrial intelligence. Our fascination with the planet Mars is no exception. The human species has had a long love affair with this captivating world. The following video segment from ‘Mars and Beyond’ provides a very nice capsule history of some of these ideas. I will have more to say about Walt Disney's partnership with Wernher von Braun in helping to sell Americans on Space in a later article. In the meantime I give you "Mars and Beyond" (Part 6). The earlier segments of this wonderful Disney program can be found here at this page from You Tube.

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