Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More space junk poetry

This from the inimitable Denis Gojak:

'I think that I shall never see,
a scorched piece of Skylab smacked into a paddock as beautiful as a tree...'

I concur.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Redefining the geography of earth and space

I have to write something about this soon, based on my AAA paper "The gravity of archaeology".

Richard Cathcart is not only an excellent space junk poet but has some interesting insights on this topic (in his 1979 publication The Developing Artificial Geography of the Solar System, Public Administration Series P-206, Illinois). He makes the point that the lithosphere is currently as impenetrable to humans as space used to be, and that the upper limit of the biosphere is where the International Space Station now orbits.

He also notes that the Earth is "eroding", in a sense, as material is injected into orbit. But it is also aggrading as far huger quantities of cosmically derived material fall to earth every day. This interchange of material between what we call earth and space is a good illustration of the artificiality of these boundaries, as Nigel Clark (2005) also argues in Ex-orbitant Globality (Theory, Culture and Society 22(5):165-185).

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Leadership in Australian space policy at last

We've had our new government for six months or so, and an early indication that things were on the move was the historic (and very moving) sorry day in February.

Now space may be taken seriously at last. The Senate Economics Committee will conduct an inquiry into Australia's space science and industry sector, delivering an interim report in June. The terms of reference include:

an assessment of the risks to Australia’s national interest of Australia’s dependence on foreign owned and operated satellites.

Could this mean a return to the glorious days of WRESAT 1, Australis Oscar V and FedSat? (although senior space colleagues have accused me of unnecessary nostalgia in this regard). I certainly hope so.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The lesser known satellite and space junk poets

Michael Dransfield wrote a pretty good poem about a satellite, and Richard Cathcart (a slightly less famous poet) wrote an even better one about space junk:

The day will come 
when we can trace
man's passage through velvet space, 
by dirty dishes, empty jars, banana peels and old cigars.

Just last week, a charming archaeologist penned the following, I think in the context of a discussion about digital heritage:

Satellite, satellite, way up high
beaming 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1
from the sky

It's a small but growing genre and I hope to see more of it in the future.

I wonder if Archy wrote a satellite poem?