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Chinese Shenzhou 7 mission discovers time travel two days before launch

September 25, 2008 @ 10:57 By: gordon Category: Seen on the 'net

An AP story on the Globe and Mail’s website this morning hints that  the Chinese Shenzhou 7 mission set to launch in two days, is going to encounter some weird temporal anomalies à la movie Frequency and actually be able to communicate with the mission control before they’ve even taken off.

More likely, it was someone who was preparing the official press release in anticipation of the launch two days hence inadvertantly hitting the “publish now” button.

It’s not terribly surprising that this is going to be a well-scripted event because most launches are.  Even Neil Armstrong’s first words on the Moon were scripted, though he went a little off-script when it came time to deliver them.  He was supposed to say “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind” but instead said “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind”, omitting the “a” and changing the meaning completely.  (Or, it maybe was supposed to end with “… one giant step for mankind”.  I prefer the “leap” version myself.)

This apparently caused a fair bit of concern among the reporters who were at mission control because they knew this was going to be one of the most important quotes in history and it was important to get it right.  After some discussions, they agreed that Armstrong had left out the “a” and that’s what they reported.

When asked about it when he was back, Armstrong said “There must be an ‘a’.  I rehearsed it that way.  I meant it that way.  And I’m sure I said it that way.”  NASA even tried to cover for him by saying the “a” was lost in the static, but unfortuantely the recording was clear at that point.

“Damn, I really did it.  I blew the first words on the moon, didn’t I?”

— Neil Armstrong upon hearing a recording of his speech.

So, I wish the Chinese all the best on their upcoming space mission.  Hopefully you will be able to proudly report “Warm clapping and excited cheering breaks the night sky, echoing across the silent Pacific Ocean.”

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