Tuesday, June 20, 2006

REAL Magic Part 4: Space Travel

Landing on the moon...

Okay, imagine planning a 500 mile trip on a map and calculating the entire trip down to the meter, every turn, every stop, every lane change, every change in direction, every acceleration and deceleration, and then climbing into your car and allowing a computer with the sophistication of about 1% of your Game Cube or Xbox to do all the driving based on your pre-programed instructions.

To make matters worse, imagine that you cannot use the brakes. Also imagine that your destination is moving at all times and you have to aim at an area where you estimate your destination will be when you arrive at that same spot.

To make it more interesting, imagine that your tires have no friction on the road and the gravitational pull of nearby objects can pull you off course. Even the gravity of your destination will pull you off course, and you have to calculate for all of this and program it into your travel plans in advance.

That's basically what NASA did when they sent men to the moon. Only they also had to deal with breaking free of the Earth's gravity, dealing with radioactive particles, tiny asteroids, and bring not only all their own food, water, and fuel, but also their own oxygen and heat. Then they had to develop a way to communicate across vast distances.

In today's world of technology and regular space launching, we take it for granted, but when we made that first journey, it was nothing short of real magic.

This is the last of four articles on my thoughts on "Real Magic", but you can expect that I will occasionally add another one. Just like I do for my "Kids Say Funny Things". If you are just tuning into my Blog, then the first three articles in this series follow. You can expect to either get some insight into what a magician considers to be "real magic" or you will leave realizing how easily amused and impressed I can be.

--Julian Franklin
Educational Entertainment Specialist

P.S. In my last post I wrote about base 2 exponents and base 10 exponents. After re-reading my post I was reminded of a funny (to certain types of people) joke:

"There are only 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary numbering systems and those who don't."

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