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I am interested in new frontiers — in discoveries and actions that (both literally and figuratively) push mankind forward. This is why my interest in space exploration is relatively limited to the Mercury through Apollo missions. Before we landed on the moon, we were jettisoning men into the greatest void we have ever known with little more than a tin can for a ship. The first seven astronauts in the Mercury mission were the most capable pilots on the planet, but piloting spacecraft is entirely different, and they did it without any predecessors . This unknown leap of faith into certain death in order to assist mankind is what fascinates me about space exploration.
This need for expansion, however, is most similar to the attitudes presented in the Manifest Destiny mindset. I do imagine living during the time U.S. western expansion was happening must have resulted in a similar emotion. Americans must have idolized Lewis and Clark in much the same way Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were seen as heroes. While I appreciate this sensationalism of mapping the unknown, I fear humanity as a whole will fixate on it to the point of atrocity.
Ultimately, early NASA missions allow an avenue for investigation into the nature and means for new discoveries. I am also interested in these same attitudes reflected in the fine arts community. In the sixties and seventies, this attitude was reflected in the post modernist and conceptual art emerging in reaction to modernist's structured investigation of the world. Currently, there is the same attitude in digital art; that is, work that lives online more than in a gallery, or work investigating the impact of internet culture on society.