Week 2 – My Life as a Spacecraft

In this week’s session of constellation, we began by delving into the importance of correct Harvard referencing within serious documents such as essays, articles and books.

I was paired up with those sat around me to attempt to reference different formats of written documents. After successfully referencing multiple books, it was time to discuss a more serious, historical, disastrous event, that being the Challenger accident.

In more detail, we began by observing a documentary peering into the evening before the Challenger launch in 1986, in which a plea was made from multiple engineers to abort the launch of the Space Craft in a tense meeting with NASA representatives, as when tests were ran on the O-rings used in the construction of the spacecraft, it was shown that at a specific temperature they were deteriorating/ slowly eroding, which would in turn leave the spacecraft in a highly dangerous state, which could result in mission failure, in addition to this, it would be endangering the lives of seven astronauts who were to be on board the craft. Although, even though the evidence provided in the tests displayed that launching the challenger would be a large risk, the manager seemed to disregard the data, as the results shown were not totally conclusive. Because of this decided to go through with the launch, which in turn failed and ended the lives of seven astronauts.

Whilst watching the documentary, I put myself in the engineers shoes and thought up possible questions they were asking whilst this meeting was taking place. These were:

  • Why don’t they understand the risks?
  • Why are they disregarding the evidence, surely it’s enough to say there’s not absolute certainty?
  • Why are they allowing the potential end of 7 innocent lives?
  • Why are their views more important than mine?
  • What is the public going to think of us when this goes wrong?
  • What about the astronauts families?
  • Do they care more about the money than the lives of those involved?

We then viewed the footage of the challenger explosion, which struck me emotionally, as you could see the disappointment in the reporters face and in turn his commentary of the event. This footage shocked me as I had not before heard of this historical event, which has led me to wish to know more about space crafts and the history of space technology.

After watching the video I recorded my immediate thoughts.

“Watching the challenger explode a minute into flight filled me with shock and disgust due to how violent it was.

The fact that the launch was not guaranteed to go well in the fist place yet was still given the go ahead by an individual makes me outraged, as that individual caused the death of the astronauts aboard.

I am also filled with empathy for the reporter as he had to continue with the broadcast after witnessing the first ever spacecraft explosion.”

This topic has enlightened me with more ideas into how each mission is ran/ allowed me to see how just a few opinions can lead to something disastrous. It has also led me to be curious into how space technology works, how engineers run their tests, record their data and more.

We happened to do an exercise in this session in which we worked together as a class to reach the possible order in which science takes place.

This brings me to my next topic of discussion… What is Science?

Well, according to the Oxford Dictionary, science is “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”; or to put in to layman terms, science is a vital process/ topic in which through observation and experimentation our knowledge and understanding of the physical and behavioural elements of the world continues to extend to a vast amount.

Science has allowed us as humans to understand the life cycle for non human living organisms, the origination of non human matter, and elements that extend beyond this planet/ galaxy, as well as introducing us to theories such as Newton’s third law and gravity.

Thanks to the discoveries that science has allowed us to achieve, quality in human life has been able to improve since the beginning of time, for example, science has allowed us to find out what to eat/ do to stay healthy, and what not to do. It has also found cures to illnesses to give people a second opportunity at life.

Science has also allowed technology to constantly be changing and advancing in its functions, thus allowing us to conduct more research/ experiments. Therefore, I suppose you could say that science is in a continual loop, expanding technology so it may expand it’s use of technology in experiments.

Is Science crucial to human life? Well to put it simply, yes. Without science there would be no evolution of human understanding of how to behave, or how to function. It is thanks to science that nowadays, we, the layman are able to survive without accidentally severely injuring/ poisoning ones self (unless of unpredictable circumstances), thus allowing us to live longer, healthier, prosperous lifestyles than those of history.

As time progresses and our understanding of the universe grows, our experience of life will continue to change/ adapt to new discoveries.

What is experience you may ask? Well, experience is something that differs from each individual’s perspective. To some it could be work experience, where you have learnt how you should function in a professional environment by placing yourself in that setting, to others it could be and event unfolding in front of their eyes, such as witnessing a proposal, or watching the first moon landing.

Experience, I suppose, is an event or occurrence in your life that effects your thought process/ emotions, or leaves some sort of lasting impression on ones self.

Overall, this session was highly informative regarding the topic of how space shuttle disasters occur, it was also emotional as we were able to put ourselves in the shoes of those involved and imagined what it was like to experience that shocking event.



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