There are currently several competing visions of space culture. These are the romantic ideal, of space being the final frontier, the minutia of people who act, emotionless like machines and the post-apocalyptic view of a desolated wasteland. This idea of space-power has always been present in the United States since the 1960s. In American culture space exploration and discovery has always been fascinating to the American society. . In movies like Space Cowboys and Armageddon, show the shooting up of rockets into space as a glorious experience.
One of the most recognized visions of space culture is this romantic ideal of space being the final frontier. This romantic ideal connects to neo-global-colonialism, being able to conquer and colonized space, which gives Americans the acumen that they are the Super world power that imposes domination. For example, in Tom Wolfe’s book the Right Stuff, shows astronauts as womanizer, intrepid men, who are battling and trying to conquer the final frontier, in the space race against Soviet Union. Wolfe delineates these astronauts as heroes and space exploration as a necessary and powerful mission.
However, Norman Mailer’s novel Of a Fire on the Moon, describes the outer-space experience as a dispassionate, tedious, robotic experience. In the story during the journey to cosmos, there is a conversation that is emotionless between the astronauts. For example, “‘Rolls complete and a pitch is program. One Bravo.’ ‘All is well at Houston. You are good at one minute… Stand by for Mode I Charlie MARK Mode I Charlie.’ ‘I Charlie. ‘ This is Houston, you are GO for staging.’ ‘Inboard cutoff.’ ‘Staging and ignition.’ ‘Houston. Thrust is Go all engines. You are looking good.’ ‘Roger. Hear you loud and clear, Houston.’” (Mailer 214-215). In this conversation, Mailer is trying to show that space experience can be boring where people act like machines. Many space-journey movies try to show space-travel as a thrilling, glorious experience, but it is not. Most people at many times do not acknowledge that space travel can have a more robotic, were astronauts talk like machines.
Another competing vision of space culture is the post-apocalyptic, wasteland view. The Cage of Sand a short by J.G. Ballard, illustrates a post-apocalyptic, miserable, infested, wasteland with “a sunset, vermillion glow that reflects the dunes along the horizon, fitfully illuminating the white faces of the abandoned hotels, an obsidian isolation for a moment between the tines, and finally the coalesced and flooded sand-filled streets, which had once sparkled with cocktail bars and restaurants” (Ballard 1). This is an execrable vision of outer-space. Ballard shows a gloomily and fatality Martian city in Cape Kennedy, Florida. Ballard continues describing the wasteland as a “macabre display of the dead astronauts orbiting the planet in their capsules” (Ballard 4). Ballard recognizes that outer-space can be a colder, darker and harsher place.