FROM WERNHER VON BRAUN TO ELON MUSK: SPACEFLIGHT’S PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Keith Gottschalk, academic
South African-born Elon Musk proposes that every twenty-sixth month 100 000 emigrants should fly to Mars, each time to found a town the size of Oudtshoorn. How much of this are we likely to see? This course discusses the unlikely history of spaceflight, which was an unintended consequence of the Treaty of Versailles. It provided the only example in sixty-nine years of the Soviet Union ‘catching up with and overtaking the West’ – by four months. The first lecture starts with the historic sensation of Sputnik and ends with twelve men walking on the Moon. The second lecture reviews space probes, space stations and robots on Mars. The final lecture discusses Elon Musk’s vision, spacecrafts that can take off and land like planes, and space elevators. It will touch on the perennial issue of extra-terrestrial life, intelligent and otherwise.
1. History: Sputnik and twelve men on the Moon
2. The present: space probes, space stations and robots
3. Future: spaceplanes and space tourism? Martian towns? ET?