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Debate: Whalers of Old Aren’t Like Astronauts Because of the Anxieties of Frontiers

28 Jan 2018, 03:29 UTC
Debate: Whalers of Old Aren’t Like Astronauts Because of the Anxieties of Frontiers
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The interplay between biology and culture reflects racial anxieties that can’t overcome the escape velocity needed to float in culture-less vacuum.
Credit: phtorxp/pixabay
An article by Matthew Bruen, titled ‘How the Whalers of Moby Dick Could Help Put Humans on Mars’ (originally published by Aeon and republished by The Wire), compares the whaling industry of the 18th and 19th centuries to space exploration in the 21st – the latter focused on human habitation of Mars. Bruen compares life onboard ships in the ocean with that of the confined space of space shuttles adrift in vacuum. He states that the timeframe for a human expedition to Mars and back is roughly equal to the whaling enterprise, each of which lasted two to four years.
Both whalers and astronauts are engaged in occupations fraught with risks and adventure that require professional competence and camaraderie to tide over crises that might emerge at any moment. Referring to Moby Dick, the iconic novel by Hermann Melville, the article states, “Through determination, daring and an intense focus on a shared goal, the first human beings will step on the Red Planet and join Ishmael’s exclusive fraternity.”
There are two issues that define the whaling expeditions ...

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