For my project I am analyzing the space program from the point of view of technogenesis and public media. For this blog post I will be talking about how rockets and the space race gave the humans a new mindset on what is human since now we have been able to launch ourselves outside the Earth and look back on ourselves and see how our small blue planet is nothing but one giant rock with a variety of living mixtures of life growing on the rock. I will also incorporate some other facts relating to class discussions like HeLa cells.
Rockets were the first worldwide technogenesis developing a path to the public about space exploration and being human. Launching these rockets was often broadcasted on worldwide TV. Since the first Russian rocket carrying Sputnik 1 launched in 1957 caused “virtually every American ham operator, physicist, radio astronomer from Boston to San Diego, and on ships at sea was either listening or feverishly assembling equipment to listen to Sputnik’s beeps(Reif).” These events caught media’s attention, which has encouraged young scientists to discover the science and art of rockets. Russia also launched the first person and animal (dog) in space. However, it was later revealed that Russia had gained inside information from improper channels, so NASA began creating high tech security to protect their data files. This was the true start of the space race as America began sending rockets up with people and experiments on board. The first American rocket sent in 1961 carried a man to find out what happens to HeLa cells when introduced to microgravity. HeLa cells are a immortal cell from Henrietta Lacks. These cells on there own replicate faster, grow stronger, and tougher. . “In 1960, HeLa cells were sent into space in a Soviet satellite prior to the flight of any astronaut. NASA later included HeLa cells in their first manned mission, and they discovered that cancer cells grow faster in space.” (Kappel) As the need to lift more weight into space, rockets had become larger and more advanced with multiple mini launch phases to thrust toward the moon. As the media covered Apollo 8 orbit the moon, approximately 40 million people watched it happen. However, once Apollo 11 launchings brought crowds of people to the launch pad, the event broadcast became the most watched event on television. The Apollo 11 moon landing had an estimated 600 million people watching from our Earth as we could see it rise over the horizon. This was the big moment, which brought humans to ask themselves what is human. Our co-evolution with these rockets has given us the power to master our environment while reshaping the ideas and concepts to help solve the greater problem of “Why are we here?”
Figure 1 These show the Rockets Scout to Saturn 5 on the American side for the space race.
I also do recommend checking out this site to see how Saturn 5 was built as this was one of the major rockets of that time and still is how they are used in multiple stages of launching.