It's Man Vs. Machine In 'Digital Apollo' David Mindell, a professor of history and engineering, talks about the politics, the pilots and the technology involved in space travel.
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It's Man Vs. Machine In 'Digital Apollo'

It's Man Vs. Machine In 'Digital Apollo'

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/92195902/92195896" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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The Apollo 11 Lunar Module 'Eagle' begins its ascent to rendezvous with the Command/Service Module 'Columbia' after its successful lunar landing, July 21, 1969. Space Frontiers/Getty Images hide caption

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Space Frontiers/Getty Images

Remember this scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which astronaut Dave Bowman battles with the spacecraft's onboard computer, HAL-9000?

    Dave Bowman: 'Open the pod bay doors, HAL.'

HAL: 'I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.'

Dave: 'What's the problem?'

HAL: 'I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.'

Dave: 'What are you talking about, HAL?'

HAL: 'This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.'

Dave: 'I don't know what you're talking about, HAL.'

HAL: 'I know you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.'

Now, a very different story on the tug-of-war between man and machine has emerged. It's called Digital Apollo, Human and Machine in Spaceflight. Author David Mindell talks about how decisions are made between astronauts, engineers and computers.

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Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight
Artist
David A. Mindell
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MIT Press

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