Space the great Ocean
Interest in the possibilty of space travel has been reawakened by Martin Rees and Stephen Hawking.
Under the augury or auspicious heading: "space exploration and space travel are essential for the survival of the species", Hawking has some unrealistic expectations in the time scale of such achievements.
The reality is that even if the US, Russia, China, India, Japan and the EU, were to switch resources from the aircraft and tourism industry, and dedicate all their industrial capacity to creating space craft, you would still only be able to 'save' a small proportion of humanity from any cataclysmic disaster on Earth.
Furthermore space is a very hostile frontier, not rich in resources and enticing like America was to European settlers. The spacecraft would have to be the size of our largest ocean liners (cruisers). And most of the people who can afford to travel on world cruises by sea are not the type of people who would survive well in a Lunar base, Artic or Antartic bases. The destination supposing one could build a lunar base in 20 years, would be austere, and need to be self-sufficient and sel-contained because of the lack of atmosphere, with the capacity to generate its own power, water and food.
Any spacecraft for interplanetary travel would have to be the size of oil tankers, to be able to produce water and food for any significant number of passengers. We are a long way from Star Trek replicators creating the food of your choice on call, and the prospect of living on vitamin pills is one that people need to be trained in. For most people eating or drinking on demand has become a habit hard to break, and food shortages could have disastrous effects on any journey. The men on Columbus' journey to America, almost turned back on several occasions, and they had all the fish they could catch, it was the absence of fresh water & wine, and the 'doldrums' which almost led them to mutiny, and to head back home.
Myths, Legends, Poems
Only a few years ago, the Chinese discovered some sanskrit documents in Lhasa, Tibet and sent them to the University of Chandrigarh to be translated. Dr. Ruth Reyna of the University said recently that the documents contain directions for building interstellar spaceships! Their method of propulsion, she said, was "anti- gravitational" and was based upon a system analogous to that of "laghima" the unknown power of the ego existing in man's physiological makeup, "a centrifugal force strong enough to counteract all gravitational pull."
Dr. Reyna said that on board these machines, which were called "Astras" by the text, the ancient Indians could have sent a detachment of men onto any planet, according to the document, which is thought to be thousands of years old. The manuscripts were also said to reveal the secret of "antima" the cap of invisibility, and "garima" how to become as heavy as a mountain of lead.
The Chinese announced that they were including certain parts of the data for study in their space program! This was one of the first instances of a government admitting to be researching anti-gravity.
There seem to be indications that Vimanas were powered by some sort of "anti-gravity." Vimanas took off vertically, and were capable of hovering in the sky, were kept in a Vimana Griha, a kind of hangar, and were said to be propelled by a yellowish-white liquid, and sometimes by some sort of mercury or "mercurial" compound, though writers seem confused on this matter. It is most likely that the later writers on Vimanas, wrote as observers and from earlier texts, and were unable to understand vlearly the principle of their propulsion.
The "yellowish-white liquid" to observers/translators from the 20thC sounds like gasoline, and perhaps Vimanas had a number of different propulsion sources, including combustion engines and even "pulse-jet" engines, similar to the USAF Aurora project said to reach speeds of Mach 6 and over.
Unfortunately, Vimanas, like most scientific discoveries, were ultimately used for war. Atlanteans used "Vailixi" flying machines, a similar type of aircraft, to literally try and subjugate the world, it would seem, if Indian texts are to be believed. The Atlanteans, known as "Asvins" in the Indian writings, were apparently even more advanced technologically than the Indians, and their flying machines or Vailixi, similar, if not identical to Vimanas, had the capability of manuvering underwater as well as in the atmosphere or even outer space. No Ancient texts are known to exist of Vailixis.
According to Eklal Kueshana, author of "The Ultimate Frontier," in an article he wrote in 1966, Vailixi were first developed in Atlantis 20,000 years ago, and the most common ones are saucershaped of generally trapezoidal cross-section with three hemispherical engine pods on the underside. They use a mechanical antigravity device driven by engines developing approximately 80,000 horse power." - But then again, this is in 1966 with the hindsight of what modern aircraft industry & areospace was capable of, and aspired to.
Separating fact from fiction. Time frame.
Are the above just translations of ancient epic poems that have been given the flavour of modern times. Was it any less possible that civilization in ancient times could have developed to a more advanced state to where we stand today, only to destroy each other in world wars.
Perhaps not so difficult for us in Europe to imagine after two World Wars, in the first half of the 20thC and the awesome powers of destruction developed during the Cold War.
Or, were these no more than the writings and epic poems of the science fiction writers of their day, after all hollywood has already taken us several thousand years into the future with films like Star Trek, Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Stargate, Next Generation, Andromeda, ...
Are we reaching a confluence in time, a time ripple where what IS (was) 10 or 20,000 years ago, becomes apparent evident again now, 10 or 20,000 years later.
Are we simply reaching the conclusion of another cycle, where the potential of man is shown at its maximum, only to find it is turned to self-destruction and a return to the dark ages. I'd like to think that if they are cycles, ie: we have been here before ... then this time we do get it right.
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