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Fear of flying

by Michael Nielsen on September 30, 2004

Joel Gilmore at illuminating science asks an interesting question about the test flight of SpaceShipOne that’s been in the news:

Oh, and a question of scruples for you all: The X-Prize requires a ship with one pilot and two passengers, but the passengers on this flight were replaced by ballast (as allowed by the rules.) If you’d been offered one of those passenger seats for today’s flight, would you have taken it? I have to say that I would have, despite the obvious risks with what the commentators called “test flight in its purest form.” In a room of three physicists, we had two votes for yes and one for no – what would you do?

I’d be tempted, but I’m pretty sure that, when push came to shove, I wouldn’t be up for the risk. Admittedly, if I’d been the person developing the rocket, I might well be interested in a flight. But just to be an invited passenger, nah. I’d rather wait for the “debugged” version.

From → General

One Comment
  1. Macneil Shonle permalink

    I would love to take the flight if I were to know the outcome beforehand. Beyond that, I’d rather not hurt my family by taking the risk.

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