Sir Arthur C. Clarke: A Space Motivator

The following message, originally titled "The ubiquitous Sir Arthur," has been placed on our domain at with the permission of its author, Rob McCann of the NASA Ames Research Center. The message, originally sent to the Arthur C. Clarke discussion list in June 2000, concerns Sir Arthur's ongoing impact on the field of space study. We thought it worthwhile for permanent inclusion among our pages. -- John Sherwood

Thu, 8 Jun 2000 19:08:45 -0700
From: Rob McCann
Subject: The ubiquitous Sir Arthur!


This past Friday I attended a high-profile press conference at NASA Ames Research Center. A variety of NASA notables, including administrator Dan Goldin, associate Administrator of Space Joe Rothenberg, NASA-Ames center director Henry McDonald, astronaut John Young, and Pete Conrad's widow (whose name escapes me for the moment), announced an innovative $100 million collaboration between NASA and a Silicon Valley start up.

The company in question, Dreamtime, is contracted to put high definition TV cameras on the international space station and the shuttles, and to digitize NASA's vast archive of photos and film so they can be made available on a web site. The underlying idea is to get the public more involved in, and supportive of, space exploration by giving them high quality internet access to NASA's space activities, both archival and real-time.

However, my point in posting this message is that Clarke-based references played a strong motivating role in the festivities. The whole thing got underway with a stirring rendition of "Also Sprach Zarathustra".

Then, in Dan Goldin's speech, the NASA administrator noted that Sir Arthur had gotton it exactly right, when he argued that NASA must open up (and eventually relinquish) LEO operations to commercial endeavors. That way, Goldin continued, NASA can more effectively focus our meager resources on visionary projects like manned Mars missions.

The promise of future space exploration generated an almost palpable intoxication in the room, and Zarathustra, forever associated with 2001, contributed in no small part to creating this atmosphere.

Dr Robert S. McCann
Human Factors Research & Technology Division (IHI)
Information Sciences & Technology Directorate
MS 262-4, NASA Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000
Tel: 650 604-0052
FAX: 650-604-3323

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