Real Spacecraft Are Astoundingly Primitive
In the Star Wars universe, new spaceships happen with the regularity of iPhone models. Hell, if NASA would take a cue from Hollywood and roll out some toys of all their sweet new ships and rovers and such, they could supplement their income so hard we'd all have rocket-pools on Mars by now.
The vehicles we trust to boot some of our most brilliant minds clear off the face of the planet are less like the futuristic ships in Interstellar and more like your cousin's beat-up Datsun. Take a look at this:
You can almost see the "My other ride is your Motherland" bumper sticker.
That's a Russian Soyuz, the spacecraft that is our main way of transporting astronauts to the ISS since America's space shuttles have been relegated to the junkyard like a fleet of 1980s minivans. Originally designed in 1962, and harnessing the very latest in '50s technology, the Soyuz remained largely unchanged for three entire decades. It wasn't until 2010 that its computer systems finally went fully digital when they received an impressive upgrade capable of cutting the typically two-day trip to the ISS down to a measly six hours.
As a point of comparison, the phone you're probably using to read this article is approximately a bajillion times more powerful than that, give or take a jillion. Also, in lieu of a fancy touchscreen, the Soyuz features a cramped control panel on which an operator is forced to push buttons with a goddamn stick.
Which is literally an invention they had on Futurama.
So why, exactly, are we still lobbing astronauts off-world in the spacefaring equivalent of a flip phone? Well, because that's all they need. The Soyuz can dock, rendezvous, autopilot, reenter the atmosphere, and make one hell of a fondue. It's also maintained a truly stellar safety record throughout the years, negating any real necessity for change. It's basically the Volkswagen Beetle of spacecraft. And, much like your stubborn grandpa who won't upgrade his decades-old DeskPRO because it "still does the print-outs" -- the Soyuz is just all mankind needs to get by for now.
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It's Spring Break! You know what that means: hot coeds getting loose on the beaches of Cancun and becoming imperiled in all classic beach slasher ways: man-eating shark, school of piranhas, James Franco with dreadlocks. There are so many films about vacations gone wrong, it's a chore to wonder if there's even such a thing as a movie vacation gone right. Amity Island and Camp Crystal Lake are out. So what does that leave? The ship from Wall-E? Hawaii with the Brady Bunch? A road trip with famous curmudgeon Chevy Chase? On this month's live podcast Jack O'Brien and the Cracked staff are joined by some special guest comedians to figure out what would be the best vacation to take in a fictional universe. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased here!
For more reasons why life in outer space is a total bummer, check out 6 Reasons Why Mass Space Travel Would Completely Suck and The 6 Weirdest Dangers Of Space Travel.
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