Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Simulated Worlds

clipped from pruned.blogspot.com
Simulated Worlds

A few years before the first landing of an Apollo crew on the moon, scientists recontoured a volcanic field just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, with artificial impact craters resembling those found on Mare Tranquillitatis, the proposed first manned American landing site.

With high explosives, they terraformed a lunar surrogate right here on the surface of the earth.

There, during the 60s and 70s, nearly all of the Apollo astronauts who walked on the moon were taught the basics in extraterrestrial exploration and earthworks. They learned, among other things, how to do productive fieldwork using traditional geologic methods such as observation, mapping and sample collecting. It is there as well that the tools with which human beings would physically deform another world for the first time were tried out.

Hammers, adjustable sampling scoops, rakes and tongs, rock drills and rover vehicles. Together with astronaut boots and gloves, these would soon leave an imprint, albeit minimal, where before meteors and the solar wind held a monopoly in lunar resurfacing.

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