October 1996

Root Page of Article: Coming Out of the Closedt World, by John Horberg

Political Games

The coldness of the government is truly frightening. I've recently read elsewhere that America could easily have launched their own artificial satellites well before Sputnik. However, for political reasons it was decided to let the Soviets set the precedent. Similarly, Edwards claims that "The Mercury flights served as legal precedents for spy satellites that would 'open up' the USSR to American surveillance."

Edwards also describes how the rhetoric of America1s space program of the 1960s (exploring outer space) clashed with the Cold War purposes hidden inside. The effect was to turn the entire planet Earth into the closed world -- the inescapable, self-referential world within which all human activity took place:

"A heavy irony lay behind the discursive d‚calage between the frontier imagery and the Cold War competition: most of the swarming satellites and spaceships were sent up only to look down... After all was said and done, the space program1s chief products were not outward- but inward-looking: spy cameras to pierce the Soviet Union1s veil, pictures of the Earth drifting alone through space, pictures of the closed world." ^

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