Story Musgrave talks of his drive, other life forms, the computers required to send man to the moon, his projects, and life in general in the final part of our interview together.
It is with great honor that I welcome Story Musgrave back on The Global Townhall.
Gabrielle Reilly: So have you ever experienced what we have come to know as burnout or have you been constantly highly motivated and what drives you today?
Story Musgrave: So where is the motivation that drives this restlessness? I never burn out, you can't bore me, the only way you can bore me is to put me with boring company and I have to be there you know. Well that doesn't happen much because I am privileged to be with very exciting people most of the time. It's that restlessness. I don't burn out because I take a fresh look all the time. I take a fresh look even if it is the same kind of thing. I could never get enough of the window of Mother Earth. So I don't burnout. Only if I'm forced down some railway track and I can't get off the track and it's somebody else's track that I'm on. Other than that I don't burn out because I find new experiences and the same thing I experience it differently and I see different things. I see finer ad finer subtleties.
Gabrielle Reilly: We are both in love with nature. From the second I woke in the morning I would run out and feed wild kookaburra's that would come and sit on my arm.
Story Musgrave: I know the kookaburra. It makes one of the most beautiful exotic sounds. It's a gorgeous sound.
I have a television program in Australia and a DVD called "Australia From Space." I do performances in City Recital Hall in Sydney. Where are you from in Australia?
Gabrielle Reilly: Well I was born in Darwin and lived in Perth.
Story Musgrave: Boy, I know Darwin. That is way out!
Gabrielle Reilly: And Alice Springs.
Story Musgrave: Alice Springs???? Why would anybody live in Alice Springs???? They got heat and they got dust.
Gabrielle Reilly: It's actually a gorgeous place. It is a rugged beauty that captured my heart.
Story Musgrave: I'm just teasing. I've been in the desert too. It turns out that the arid has the strongest call on humans that any geography does. The arid believe it or not, it's incredibly powerful.
Gabrielle Reilly: I believe it. It is exhilarating standing on a hill at sunset looking over the magnificent landscape watching the sunset throwing magnificent reds and oranges across the sky. Mornings and evenings the escarpment has a softness about it that is rejuvenating.
Story Musgrave: I did a study of sand dunes from space and of course I have 300 dunes. The wind and the sand created art forms. I have more from Australia than anywhere else. If you go to my production company web site in Australia http://www.lannistoria.com you can find the information there.
Australia was particularly appealing to me in the ways that we have been talking about. Plus it is isolated of course. It is a cultural, geographical entity that is separate from the rest of the world. So I found it very appealing to start with Australia from space. To deal with it as one place, one geography. It was really nice.
Gabrielle Reilly: So onto NASA. I watched the space mission STS 117 launch and did the close up tour at NASA and had lunch with an astronaut (was fantastic.) It was astounding watching the simulated launch from mission control with the original equipment used to send man to the moon. The computers just seemed so antiquated to be able to achieve such staggering results.
Story Musgrave: It got the results because it was simple. Because it was reliable. That system will get us better results than a shuttle ever can because the shuttle is a human machine. Apollo was built on simplicity and beauty.
Gabrielle Reilly: What roll did the computers actually play in getting man to the moon?
Story Musgrave: We only had one computer on board. We could have gotten there without a computer really. Except of course the tracking from the ground. But on board we had one simple computer without backup. We had a system that was so simple we probably could have got there without computation.
When the launch aborted on Apollo Saturn because the computer failed, I found a solution on what was a HP 35 calculator at that time. I did the abort solution on the HP 35 so we had a way of doing things that were simple. We just got back to essentials.
Gabrielle Reilly: That is just staggering. Are you are Star Trek fan?
Story Musgrave: I love Olaf Stapledon. He was a British science fiction writer in 1930's. He's my man. He's not that popular. He dealt with 18 different species of humans. He visited different planets and he saw how the advanced evolutionary string went down the drain or established a peaceful global community and how they take care of things. Could they get along amongst themselves or not? Were they in balance with the rest of the creatures of the world or not. So it was a huge lesson and obviously we are failing.
Gabrielle Reilly: Do you believe there are other life forms?
Story Musgrave: Oh, yes. We are just one solar system. The logical person could assume that there is life in every solar system out there. The carbon bond is responsible for life, plus other things like nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen etc, but the way carbon hooks to a cell is what allows for life. That is so powerful that is has formed millions of species here on Earth alone. Life is so powerful and it's got billions of years to form. So of course there are trillions of stars and planets, not billions but trillions, so you know life is out there. Some of it has got its act together. Think about what technology can do in a billion years. Our technology has only been forming for several hundred years, you could imagine what technology could do in an intelligent being for a billion years, they could also be doing star travel.
I think it's very important for people to accept that they are out there. It's part of our Copernican growth. We resisted the fact that the whole universe is not just circling around Earth. So we resisted that wing of evolution. We resisted Freud's subconscious and relativity and Heisenberg's uncertainty but part of our own human growth is to accept as opposed to thinking that life out there including intelligent life is an improbable thing.
We need to accept the fact that it is everywhere out there. We always make the same error; we have to live in a unique place in the universe to justify our faith. The real faith is the one that goes forward with faith even though you do not occupy a physically unique place in the universe.
Story Musgrave: Why did you end up in Kansas City?
Gabrielle Reilly: Ohhh, I had travelled to over 40 States and I just love Kansas City, it's the best kept secret. The life is more simple than other cities, the people are lovely, polite and yet still very sophisticated and intelligent. It's not prairies as many people think of it. My backyard is hilly with beautiful sycamores and a creek. It's gorgeous.
Story Musgrave: Yes, yes, I love Kansas City too.