2018-05-01 02:28:19 UTC
I'll try to express some half formed thoughts on what
the Sci-Fi writers were expressing then (back in the 1950's,
60's and 70's), and how exploring is going on now,
and what checking out the unknown was in the way back years
of 1490s to 1812.
Well, the great old sci-fi writers like Robert Heinlein,
Arthur Clarke, Robert Silverberg, and Poul Anderson failed
to predict many of our modern developments. They predicted
increased computers and robots, but never came near grasping
how much computing and telecommunications and robots would
totally change how we pushed into the future.
Heinlein, Clark, and Anderson all have humans going out
to push exploration and boundaries.
In Heinlein's "Rocket Ship Galileo" (1947) Nobody had ever
seen or photographed the far side of the moon, and the boys
had barely laid eyes on the area of the moon that they set
their ship down on before they were landed. And suddenly,
boom, they were there!
In Clarke's "Islands in the Sky" (1952) it was man walking
on Mercury and Mars that spotted advanced life forms.
In Clarke's short story "A Meeting with Medusa" (1971)
it was a man in an 'airship' on Jupiter that spotted large life forms.
In Clarke's "Rendezvous with Rama" (1973) the reader still had
the great wonder and fear, of what is behind the door, as they
open the door to go into Rama.
Whereas now, we send machines to send back reports so we
can study and study and further study a situation first.
We first landed objects on the moon in 1959.
Between 1969 and 1972 we completed 6 manned landings
on the moon so humans could walk on and explore the unknown.
Since 1971 we have sent objects to Mars.
Since 1997 we have landed rovers that have studied the
situation quite extensively.
But, we have not found any caves!!!
And really!!?!! Curiosity Rover landed in 2012,
and has only gone = Distance covered: 18.13 km (11.27 mi);
as of 11 February 2018.
(Really, get serious, Lewis and Clark generally covered
more than that in a day -- GOING UPSTREAM!!)
Yeah, I do understand the Opportunity Rover
has gone further, since Landing date: January 25, 2004,
it has covered: 45 km (28 mi) (as of 10 January 2018)
But still. Send the tiny long range drones!
We have sent spacecraft / robots all over the solar
system (and even out past it) to give us reports.
But since 1972 no man has left Earth or Earth orbit and
gone out into the universe and the unknown.
The sci-fi writers were definitely very strongly influenced
by exploration from 'way back times', like in 1760s to 1806.
They had man boldly going into the unknown to see new
and unexpected things.
About 2 years ago I got off onto a reading kick on Capt. James
Cook's explorations (1768 to 1779) and on the Lewis and Clark
Expedition (1804 to 1806).
Seriously, when Capt. Cook left on his first expedition,
in 1768, they may have known the earth was round, but a lot
of the Pacific hemisphere was totally unknown!
The mapmakers knew Tasman in 1644 had sailed eastward,
hit Tasmania, figured it was part of Australia, went around
it's southern corner and on east until he hit what we now
know is the west coast of New Zealand, then sailed north along
that coast, then off to the north before heading west
Now, the top scientists of the day, the members of the
Royal Society, had a specialty of theoretical geography.
They were sure the earth had to be balanced. Thus they
were quite confident that to counter big old Asia,
there had to be a large, capable of being inhabited,
southern continent. And it would probably fill most
of the area between the west coast of what we call
New Zealand, up north to near Tahiti, and over most of
the way to Chile. And some sensed that England / the UK
might lose it's very important American colonies
(those cheeky ones!) this area might be an ideal
replacement. So go find Terra Australis!
Well Cook sailed, with a very important first scientific stop
to go to Tahiti, to from there, time the transit of Venus
across the face of the sun (so to figure it's distance,,,
poopers, the instruments were not accurate enough for
that good theoretical discovery!).
This wiki has a good multi colored map to view.
So off to find new land, he sailed south, then west,
and found the east side of New Zealand, sailed around it,
proving it was 2 fair size islands, but no continent!
So, they were firmly located! Next he went to the east coast
of Australia, and sailed north up it, firmly locating
it (and doing plenty of botany and animal and anthropology stuff).
He sailed west over the Australian north coast on home.
On his second trip, he had clearer instructions to look
to the south, and he really did, spending much time south
of 60 degrees! NO LARGE INHABITABLE land there!
On his thrird trip he covered much of the North Pacific,
he found the Hawaiian Islands, and a serious big
ocean! Through the Bering Straits, and fairly
good proof that no sailing ship Northwest Passage
existed. He contributed greatly to knowledge.
A bit later, in the US, POTUS Jefferson bought a big
hunk of land, (Louisiana Purchase) and wanted to know
what was in it, and if
there might be a water based trade route to the Pacific NW.
POTUS Jefferson consulted plenty with the top scientists
of the day as to their views about what would be found
in the journey heading west from St. Louis. No
'white man' had seen the Rocky Mountains north of Mexico
and civilization had very little idea of what would be found.
Among the opinions of the expert scientists, was that it might
be likely that they could canoe all the way up the Missouri,
and only have to carry canoes for 1/2 mile or so, before
putting them down in a tributary of the Columbia river!!!!
Well, after the expedition lost about a month of prime
travel time just getting around the Great Falls in Montana,
that didn't sound likely. So, hundreds of miles later,
and lots of pulling canoes with ropes up streams, Capt. Lewis
went ahead of the main party, and walked to the top of Lemhi
Pass, and looked to the west. Dang!! Another range of mountains!
What a grand exploration. New route, new plants, new animals,
new native American tribes.
Enough for now. I'll stop and hit send.
A few of the most worthwhile books include:
Ambrose, Stephen E. (1996). "Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis,
Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West". Simon
and Schuster, New York. p. 511. ISBN 9780684811079.
Boorstin, Daniel J. (1985) "The Discoverers, A history of man's
search to know his world and himself"
DeVoto, Bernard Augustine (1997) . "The Journals of Lewis
and Clark". Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 504. ISBN 0-395-08380-X.
—— (1998). "The Course of Empire". Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 647.
Lavender, David Sievert (2001). "The Way to the Western Sea: Lewis
and Clark Across the Continent". University of Nebraska Press.
p. 444. ISBN 9780803280038.