07/13/20 – The G.O.B.

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, July 13, 2020.

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2020-07-13-spacetrawler3

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Things in mirror may be closer than they appear.

7 Comments

  1. TB

    Wait until you find out that each of those windows is a quarter mile wide…

    In an atmosphere, we automatically judge large scales by a certain amount of atmospheric hazing over great distances. This doesn’t happen in a space, so something the size of a car ten feet away looks just the same as a small moon a hundred miles away.

    SF moviemakers worked this out very early in the game, and added patterns of lit windows to their spaceships to convince modern brains to scale them as “enormous buildings.” This has now become so widely used and accepted, that nobody really wonders why a Star Destroyer would have so many rooms with a view.

    Interestingly, a person who had never seen large cities or skyscrapers would just see it as a small object with little lights on it. Possibly space fireflies.

    1. Pete Rogan

      It’s not just large objects far away. Without perspective or familiar objects in the same view to compare, you can get disoriented in space only five feet from a visible object.

      This is why the International Space Station is covered in those round targets with black and white quarters. They’re all the same size, and were used during construction to align the modules prior to assembly. They allow spacewalking astronauts to gain a sense of perspective and distance on the wholly novel exterior of the ISS.

      Alas, in the future a computerized vision system will do things like module alignment, and humans along for the ride will have to cope with what the machine says is happening for better or for worse. Good luck to them.

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