I am ever amazed at how knowledge and information works.... whereas a short time ago there was an utter VOID of information now is an entirely new dimension branching through my psyche though a childish flight simulator.
So, I've been playing this 'game': "Kerbal Space Program".
I've kinda ignored the actual 'game' and downloaded a mod that adds hundred of real-life missions starting with the V-2....
So basically (using mostly stock parts) I've gone through each and every significant space flight mission since the 1940s.. (I'm up to 2009)
With each mission I would stop and research it.. usually for a longer time than playing it.. and then try to reproduce the spacecraft and mission in-game... I didn't actually think I was going to do it but I've so far even launched every "sometimes boring-***" Space Shuttle missions.. and all of the manned Soyuz..... NOT doing the thousands of satellites.. but major ones like LandSat and GOES I'm doing.. and some ELINTs so I have an excuse to built the Delta- IV Heavy.
All of my mission/ship names are parodies..
Voyager = Voyeur
SS Discovery = SS Delivery
Magellan = Mcguffin
Then there's SpyLab, the early Explainer probes, the Loony probes, LandSnoop, STAYS weather satellites.
Of course the famous Aposto moon missions. My rovers Spoof and Impunity are still rolling strong!
I am currently up to March 2009. My next mission is STS-119.... this is where the SS Delivery is going to deliver the 4th solar array to the Kerbernational Space Station!
SO what is REALLY cool about all this for me... (me being a history buff) is that as I am making my way along this fascinating thread of human history using this "game" as a motivational vehicle for research I am also taking the opportunity to explore society itself. At first.. as I was doing the Apollo missions I would listen to whatever media was available while designing and doing the missions... Designing my version of the Saturn 5 (Satyr 5) and planning my moon landing missions (sans guides) took days maybe a few weeks... (I think my loony rover took a few days itself) during that time I probably watched every documentary about everything spaceflight related I could find pertaining to up to that point in history..
Also spent much time reading the hysterical moon hoax crap.. unfortunately Youtube has more videos about hoax crap than actual science and history...
So as I went forward obviously the media available evolved.... So while I was working my way through the spaceflights of the 1980s I found myself listening to old news casts and game shows and commercials and cartoons.. SUCH a blast from the past.... being the ADHD "sufferer" that I am this inevitably branched off into many other pursuits having to do with the time-period in which my game timeline was mimicking .
So I've essentially been "revisting" the past major events of the world.... finding things I NEVER would have thought of... for example.. when I got to 1992, I found a Hungarian documentary about the Cosmonauts that went to the Mir as Soviets and returned as Russians having stayed up for months while the Soviet Union collapsed below them... this has their personal footage from the Mir and their thought while this was happening...
I think I was watching "The Americans" during this so it was extra col.
Also this photograph: https://media3.s-nbcnews.com/j/streams/2013/june/130621/6c7972742-060117_alcohol_hmed_3p.nbcnews-ux-1024-900.jpg
They're PLASTERED in SPAAACE!! (those guys just lived through a FIRE on a space station... drink up, comrades.)
Sorry, this is one of my favorite photos of all time.
Then I began making my way to points in history that I remember.... I did have recollection from Skylab only because I read Mad Magazine since I was in 2nd grade and they LOVED to make fun of Skylab....
When I got to Challenger.... of course I remember that .. so re watching all of the docs.. and also reading all of the reports.. the statements... Very educational to say the least.. Especially since on every manned (Kerballed!) mission I would do I would do some research on the people involved... so to get to know these people gave me more of an emotional connection to these events... same with Apollo 1, Soyuz 1, Soyuz 11, and Columbia...
Then the convergence started to happen... where I am getting into a point in history that I can remember ever more vividly. (for some reason my Long-term memory is nearly photographic/audiographic whatever..)...
As I get into the later 2000s some of the media is sorely lacking because it has ceases to be that historical (yet)... so around 2006ish I usually ended up listening to Opie and Anthony when I would run out of News from that month or week.
But the Space Shuttle missions can get especially interesting (and tedious) because there is pretty much, at least, a 20 minute crew mission video for every single mission (except classified).
So.. I'm not paid by the makers of Kerbal Space Program... hell.. I've been playing my game off of a forklift copy of the games Steam directory so updates didn't ***** me.... I believe they now have added historical missions into the native game.. including parts.. but I enjoyed trying to my my approximate Kerbal version... sometimes to hilarious results.. (my Vir station would almost shake apart constantly when docking my Progrock cargo vessels)
So in playing this game (off and on) for about a year and a half... I've learned SO SO SO SO much about human space-flight, orbital mechanics, Le Grange points (they aren't in this game)..... and the general understanding (and lack thereof ) of these things though the decades..
(did I mention I also built a working F-15?... it even has a working missile payload..... Also made Titan, Atlas and Minuteman ICBMs IRBMS..et al.. [Titus, Fatlas, and Muscleman respectively hehe)
Something else UTTERLY FASCINATING (historically speaking) is this: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/e/roman/texts/plutarch/moralia/the_face_in_the_moon*/a.html
So this is from Plutarch's Moralia.. from around the year 100 A.D.
Plutarch made his living as a priest of Apollo at Delphi.. a highly prestigious position..
So in his later days he would have people come to his house and sit around and debate... apparently he also have people standing by recording what was being said which was recorded as dialogs.. (I supposed there could be an argument there)
ANYway this particular part of his huge work "Moralia" is basically all you could ever want to know about what ancient peoples thought about The Moon. It is an awesome window into the thought of the time and much of it is based on classic Greek views... which would have still been ubiquitous in the Roman Empire.
There a many of ancient records pertaining to astronomy and astrophysics... but this work by Plutach is the best compilation of thoughts on the subject in my opinion.. though they stick to Lunar matters usually there is much said of their ideas of celestial bodies, physics.. For instance one guy even speculates that the reason the moon stays in the sky is that it is travelling at such a high velocity that it cannot crash... essentially describing why something orbits... the also speculate on life on the moon and what it would be like... Freaking Fascinating.
Anyway, regarding the space program in general... it is rather disheartening how much we've just seemed to be just spinning our wheels for the last 40 years or so.. I was very much following the Google Lunar X-Prize mission... before that went kaput (though some companies are still planning on launching anyway!)
Seriously... the CAR in space.. is probably the best thing that could have happened to the public consciousness regarding space exploration... as sad as that statement actually is...