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Does the general public even know it exists?

Posted by: Lisa Shock - Wed Jul 30, 2003 5:50 am
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Does the general public even know it exists? 
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Post Does the general public even know it exists?   Posted on: Wed Jul 30, 2003 5:50 am
In a time when the attention span of the average american seems to be shorter than the time it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn, are we even sure that the majority of people are aware of privatized space travel at all?

I recall vividly the morning of February 1, when my husband woke me up with the news of the Columbia disaster, and (still half asleep) I rattled off a list of the science projects that had been conducted on board, and said "it can't be all gone". Later that day, I was online and in various chatrooms, and a lot of what I heard from people was along the lines of "I didn't know a shuttle was up there", or worse, "who cares?"

I am old enough to recall Mercury missions, and always followed the progress of space flight, but I think a lot of people nowadays don't really follow space related news. I suspect that there needs to be a lot more publicity on the topic. I would like to hope that people know about it, but suspect they don't.


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Post Re: Does the general public even know it exists?   Posted on: Wed Jul 30, 2003 12:25 pm
Lisa Shock wrote:
I suspect that there needs to be a lot more publicity on the topic. I would like to hope that people know about it, but suspect they don't.

I suspect they dont either, and IMO its largely the fault of space program itself. Since Apollo, everybody has been convinced that space is hard, hideously expensive, not for regular people and nowadays also BORING.

Establishing a common perception that its not _necessarily_ expensive and not boring at all is one of the biggest obstacles for actually getting people to space.


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Post Tito   Posted on: Wed Jul 30, 2003 7:39 pm
Lisa Shock wrote:
are we even sure that the majority of people are aware of privatized space travel at all?


You will probably recall the name "Dennis Tito," who occupied quite a prominent spot in the news in April 2001 as he became the world first "paying space tourist." There was a lot of press coverage of his struggle to get off the ground, his fantastic trip in space, and his interviews afterward.

But, since old news is no news, the second paying space tourist, Mark Shuttleworth, got far less coverage on his trip in April 2002.

Right now, the promise of private space travel gets almost no coverage. After all, "everyone knows" that only NASA can do space. Well, that will change as soon as the X-Prize is won.

In fact, seeing as the X-Prize will probably be won before the space shuttle flies again, I expect to see a lot of press coverage. Stay tuned.


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Post Re: Does the general public even know it exists?   Posted on: Wed Jul 30, 2003 10:25 pm
Lisa Shock wrote:
... I heard from people was along the lines of "I didn't know a shuttle was up there", or worse, "who cares?"...


I receive the same response when I mention Meigs Field. So many people are engrossed with their own little sphere of existance that anything outside this sphre is either ignored or worse yet, discounted all together!

Several months ago, here in Las Vegas, there was a planned protest against the storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. Only about 75 people showed up. That same night, coupons for a discounted buffett at a local casino were valid. Do you know what? More people showed-up to take advantage of the coupon than participated in the protest!

Ken


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 31, 2003 12:59 am
If the X-Cup becomes a reality I think it could have a very good impact on the public concerning private spaceflight. The space shuttle and the International Budget Buster are boring and seem to get us nowhere, I can't blame the public for being largely disinterested. Making a sport out of manned rocket races though could jolt people into thinking about the possibilities of space.


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Post X-prize IS a reality!!!   Posted on: Fri Aug 01, 2003 1:28 am
I am a firm believer that the X-prize is already a reality. There are many of us who believe that Space Tourism is already here. It is the a small percentage of people who do not know about the Space Program and about Tourism. It has been shown that there is already a high interest in space tourism as well as space exploration.

It is our duty to provide the educational outreach necessary to the general public regarding space travel. If we really do believe that we want this to happen , then, we have to keep the faith and work harder than we ever had before,

We may not be the ones building the launch vehicles and may not be competing in the X-prize, but there are other ways we can make a difference.

Peter D. at the ISDC (International Space Conference) in San Jose, California stated that the way to space travel is "good ol' fashion competition". That's what's going to get us into sub-orbital! It got us to the Moon, right?

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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 01, 2003 2:36 am
The public will probably not even notice until the first launch takes place. How much of the public was aware of all the efforts surrounding the first around the world balloon flight--until the attempts started to be made. Then everybody paid attention, and the whole China airspace thing was involved. Things will be quiet until the week of the actual launch.

Of course you could always have a cute, funny, & clever Superbowl ad...

(Maybe get NOVA to do a show...)


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Post Re: Does the general public even know it exists?   Posted on: Sat Aug 02, 2003 5:53 am
Technology needs a facelift. Just the phrase space program is a little musty.

Tech needs to go urban to grab the mainstream crowd. Embrace the beat and leave the egghead angle behind. Maybe introduce a crib program with an opportunity to tag air walls in space.

It's really frustrating that in the last 30+ years, technology has just given up its glamour. To the masses, I mean. It's delivered hype and Hollywood and MTV... and, well, gangsters as heroes instead of astronauts as heroes.

When space indulges the ego-ridden self that dominates our media, then good things will come. The masses will follow.


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Post Re: Does the general public even know it exists?   Posted on: Sun Aug 03, 2003 10:27 am
Googol_Chats wrote:
It's really frustrating that in the last 30+ years, technology has just given up its glamour. To the masses, I mean. It's delivered hype and Hollywood and MTV... and, well, gangsters as heroes instead of astronauts as heroes.

You are blaming media, but media merely follows the "action". Not the other way around.
Here's the real problem. You can become a gangster, a die-hard cop, you can set up a boy-band or R&B hit. You can create a show called Jackass and become a "hero" with jumping into pile of elephant sh*t.

How much chance, at this day and age, do you have to become an astronaut ?
Hundreds of years ago, to become a famous explorer ( or more often than not, to perish in wilderness, but nobody told _these_ stories ) you had to have spirit, courage, a bit of luck and in some cases wits. Depending on frontier, you could discover a new continent, conquer whole nations, or come home with sacks full of gold.

Now, set the clock forward to 2003. Your frontiers are Lunar poles, asteroid belt, jovian moons and lands that lie under clouds of Venus. Thanks to this well-organized way of conducting "exploration" of those new frontiers, how much chance do you have of becoming a hero that dug out the first chunk of ice on Lunar pole or be the first to sail around the Venus in a blimp ?
You can have all the spirit, courage and luck in the world, you can even have moderately obscene amounts of cash, but you will not get far, as long as some things dont change.

X-Prize is set to bring along some of required changes.


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Post Re: Does the general public even know it exists?   Posted on: Sun Aug 03, 2003 4:59 pm
no_way wrote:
Now, set the clock forward to 2003. Your frontiers are Lunar poles, asteroid belt, jovian moons and lands that lie under clouds of Venus. Thanks to this well-organized way of conducting "exploration" of those new frontiers, how much chance do you have of becoming a hero that dug out the first chunk of ice on Lunar pole or be the first to sail around the Venus in a blimp ?
You can have all the spirit, courage and luck in the world, you can even have moderately obscene amounts of cash, but you will not get far, as long as some things dont change.

X-Prize is set to bring along some of required changes.

In schools, people are shown videos to glamorize space exploration---naturally, they are videos of the Apollo program. Things seem to have been exciting then, but now space shuttles fly regularly (except when one of them has an accident) and nobody notices. Everything is given names like the International Space Station (how boring is that?), and the general attitude seems to be, "Move along, nothing to see here."

Regulations that the airline industry has accumulated over the years get dumped on the quite young field of private spaceflight, weighing it down.

I'd say that what we need is for there to be a fairly cheap way of getting into space, and then we can get some progress. Large numbers of people are hard to motivate, but that's what you need to do if space exploration os so expensive the government needs to run it. If we can make it possible for moderately rich groups to go into space, then we don't need to stir the masses nearly as much.[/i]

Bring on the X-Prize!

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Post Re: Tito   Posted on: Wed Aug 06, 2003 8:31 pm
I believe there is alot going on out there that the general public is unaware of, namely the X-Prize.

I think it should be made more public so people will know what is going on and why X-Prize exists.

You read about other things going on like the Mission to Mars and the Internationa Space Station but you don't hear anything about the X-Prize and who is competeing for it.

People are naturally curious and if X-Prize is more publized than it will have more support. Larry Walton
The Legionnaire wrote:
Lisa Shock wrote:
are we even sure that the majority of people are aware of privatized space travel at all?


You will probably recall the name "Dennis Tito," who occupied quite a prominent spot in the news in April 2001 as he became the world first "paying space tourist." There was a lot of press coverage of his struggle to get off the ground, his fantastic trip in space, and his interviews afterward.

But, since old news is no news, the second paying space tourist, Mark Shuttleworth, got far less coverage on his trip in April 2002.

Right now, the promise of private space travel gets almost no coverage. After all, "everyone knows" that only NASA can do space. Well, that will change as soon as the X-Prize is won.

In fact, seeing as the X-Prize will probably be won before the space shuttle flies again, I expect to see a lot of press coverage. Stay tuned.
:shock:


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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 10, 2003 7:01 am
In my opinion, from discussing with light weight educated people and the average Joe Blow, many people are not aware that the technology for privatized space travel already exist. When people think of space, they think big brother government, NASA and wasteful spending of tax payers money.

People need to be educated on the pros of cons of commercialized space tourism, development and exploration. We cannot expect the established media to carry the burden. It will take more of a grassroots effort. Each one teach one kinda of thing.

The X-Prize is the right idea moving in the right direction. It's just an issue of patience for now. Also, there is need for another high publicity award to promote private or commercial space tourism, exploration and development.

Maybe a $5 million award called the "A-Prize" :idea: for the first company to successfully mine a near earth asteroid for precious metals.

Another good idea is to hold contest where students can win cash prizes for the best three articles written on the history of the space tourist concept.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 10, 2003 9:57 am
bcmlcorp wrote:
In my opinion, from discussing with light weight educated people and the average Joe Blow, many people are not aware that the technology for privatized space travel already exist. When people think of space, they think big brother government, NASA and wasteful spending of tax payers money.

And if you tell them that a bunch of garage tinkerers are currently building rockets to go to space for 10Million prize, they think Roadrunner. Even with otherwise tech-savvy people the effect is the same.
Best highlight: see Slashdot.org comments on X-Prize news postings. Part of the problem is, that all they get to hear is "rocketmen", "launch", "hoping to go to space". They are not briefed on background and intents of this whole effort.
There were just tons of commentaries how "spaceship one will burn up in no time during reentry" because "if shuttle couldnt do it, such flimsy bird cannot do it". Nobody even bothers to check whats this all about, they dont even know that X-Prize does not aim to orbit.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 10, 2003 6:03 pm
This is all true but the fact remains that WE ALL have to do something about it. We cannot just rely on space companies and the academic communities to relay the message and goals of space travel. WE ALL have to take part in it. If we leave the job for others then not only will very few individuals be aware of the spaceprogram and travel but it will hinder and stagnate it further.

Educational outreach is a must, competition between teams/organization/etc. is necessary. We are a very competitive race and rely on technology for communication and basically survival.

ALL of us must help out in an (small) way we can: from giving lectures to children in school, speaking with politicians, attending conference and workshops, etc.

Space travel will become a reality with larger masses pulling together for ONE COMMON GOAL! That's what got us to the Moon. We did not diverge from ONE goal. We were focused and we made it. If we stay focused we can make it back to the Moon and eventually to Mars. Suboribital is the first (but not the last step) in achieving our goals. Together we can do it!

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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 10, 2003 8:20 pm
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There were just tons of commentaries how "spaceship one will burn up in no time during reentry" because "if shuttle couldnt do it, such flimsy bird cannot do it". Nobody even bothers to check whats this all about, they dont even know that X-Prize does not aim to orbit.


I don't even bother trying to discuss projects like the X-prize with people like that anymore. I've encountered some people who are so closed minded to the concept of private spaceflight that they're beyond help. I have to say though it will be gratifying to rub their noses in it when some group of non-gov't rocketeers reach the edge of space. :twisted:


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