China launched a Mars probe on Thursday (23 July 2020), designed to complete orbiting, landing and roving in one mission, taking the first step in its planetary exploration of the solar system.
In contrast with the commercial, militarist and billionaire-dominated nature of much current space exploration, Sean Meleady celebrates the important achievements of the Soviet led ‘Interkosmos’ programme, not just for the socialist countries, but for all humanity.
From the Babylonians to the Greeks to the Mayans, the practises of science and literature existed in some form or another at the centre of every ancient civilisation. They represented to them what they continue to do to us today: the most fundamental desire of our species to know the world around us, and to share that knowledge with others. Tens of thousands of years came and went while spending little time at all drawing distinction between these disciplines – ones today we perceive as being repellent strangers to one another – as often they were one single entity. Ancient aborigine civilisations considered the stars the campfires of passed spirits, spawning many a story that were undoubtedly shared around more terrestrial campfires, from generation to generation, through spoken word rather than ink and parchment.
Somewhere down the line, between then and now, the entity broke in two.