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Space Age Archaeology

All artefacts are anthropomorphic

4 May 2019, 00:25 UTC
All artefacts are anthropomorphic
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I was reflecting on the phenomenon of anthropomorphising space technology.Two social media-mediated incidents are central to my personal experience with this. From my early days on Twitter, I've followed Voyager 2. The account was not an official NASA account: it was run by scientist Dr Paul Filmer. During the now-forgotten US government shutdown in 2013, NASA closed it down. He was allowed to continue tweeting as the spacecraft, but using a different handle - @NSFVoyager2.I found the impact of this quite informative. I woke up one morning to find people messaging me, wondering why Voyager 2 was silent on Twitter. We figured it had something to do with a recent tweet in which the spacecraft expressed a - very mild - opinion. We tried to reach Paul. I cried. I felt that I was cut off from the solar system, closed in like a fish caught in the ocean and transferred to a glass bowl on a table in the vestibule.The second is the Rosetta/Philae mission to Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The European Space Agency's public outreach campaign was designed to get people emotionally invested, and it sure as heck worked on me. In 2016 the equipment used by the Rosetta ...

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