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high flying - The Villages

Date: 2008-01-18 23:38
Subject: high flying
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Music:black sabbath
Over at Boing Boing I note a piece about Japanese members of the crew of the International Space Station launching a paper aeroplane into the Earth's atmosphere. Apparently the paper's been heat-treated and the aeroplane is expected to survive reentry.
I don't know about you, but I think it's wonderful that we live in a world where people can do something so marvellously, delightfully dotty. Where a lot of science fiction falls down, I think, is that while it does a good job of predicting the future, most of it ignores the flat-out daft aspects, the little quirks that make the future seem like a proper inhabited home rather than an Ikea show-apartment.
Of course, you can't blame writers for doing it that way. Quirks get in the way of the story (or wind up being more interesting than the story) and it's hard enough to think up a convincing future, let alone think up the myriad weird ways people might use it.
On the other hand, I kind of think this story of the paper aeroplane is in the spirit, if nothing else, of Arthur C Clarke.
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RealThog: 'Ronica
User: realthog
Date: 2008-01-19 01:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Good place to find out about an aeroplane story, Boing Boing, isn't it?

Years ago, before the Shuttle design was accepted and pursued by NASA (well, more by the US military in a compromise between its various branches), someone designed a thing called, I think, the Waverider. This was intended to be eased gently into the earth's atmosphere and to take its time descending, so there was never to be much of a problem with friction heating and the like. It would also have been a "greener" vehicle, of course. I don't know if it ever got further than the drawing board, but it sounds as if the Japanese might be thinking of something along the same lines: today the paper model, tomorrow the full-scale craft.
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User: hutch0
Date: 2008-01-19 15:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I remember reading something about the Waverider, too. I have a feeling it would have been too expensive to develop. Have to check.
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