Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Lemma dilemma

About a month ago, Russian researchers announced a plan for a manned flight to Mars in 2009.

Sergei Gorbunov, spokesman for the Russian Space Agency, said he had never heard of the project and that it "was absolutely impossible" to implement with such a meager budget and in such a short time period.

Fund-raising schemes are said to involve a reality television show.

On Monday, Anatoly Perminov, Russia's space agency chief since March, expressed support for the mission to Mars — visiting the planet within a decade is realistic provided funding is adequate.

Stanislaw Lem in interview discusses politics, globalization, and film adaptations of his work.

On Bush talking about the countless riches on the Moon and Mars:

There is nothing up there. And what about the money for these space adventures? Do you think U.S. Congress will come up with hundreds of billions on a silver platter? Besides, what is the dollar really worth now? In Communist-era Poland it could buy 100 zlotys: That was some money. But now it is worth a mere 3.5 zlotys. Today I am getting more dollars for new editions of my books from Russia than from the United States. We should deal with earthly problems, not with space chimeras.

Today's space race: "This is not development but militarization, pure and simple. Moreover, it has nothing to do with the Universe."

Although the stories of science fiction are often parables of the human condition, it surprises me that a man who writes of space adventures and alien cultures does not view exploration as a worthy pursuit.

How much of the science fiction writer's work is speculative, the extension of known fact? How much is it based in the paradigm of the known world, on his worldview? How much of is pure chimera?

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