sugoll (sugoll) wrote,

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Sounds familiar

This is an article about visiting an asteroid, which somewhat reminds me of Mary Doria Russel's The Sparrow. But what caught my eye was Boing Boing's quote, which included this:

An asteroid-bound crew would therefore need to “bring mission control on board,” says Korsmeyer, in the form of highly automated decision-making software. “When something bad happens, which tends to happen quickly, the crew and systems will have to manage it on their own. This is something humanity hasn’t done yet.

And I thought, "Huh?" One of Russel's points in writing The Sparrow was that she was replicating the first-contact scenario from the first Europeans making it to America and fucking things up - because they were on their own. As it happens, dealing with the consequences of Things Going Wrong, while isolated in a wholely hostile and unforgiving environment, with nothing to help you except what you thought to bring with you, is exactly the scenario faced by humanity for almost all of its sea-faring period.

And while the problems humanity faces in space might be different from those of, say, a merchant sailing vessel halfway across the Atlantic, or a nuclear submarine maintaining radio silence beneath the North Pole, I'm pretty sure that humanity's probably going to be better equipped to face them without the help of automated decision-making software...
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