"What Use is a Newborn Baby?"

What Use is a Newborn Baby?

Kites were have been flown in China for 2800 years. The sky lantern, a proto hot air balloon, was invented in China at around 200 A.D. Attempts of human flight using gliders have been documented since the 9th Century A.D. In 1783, the Montgolfier brothers launched the first manned flights with human passengers in a hot-air balloon. The same year, manned hydrogen balloon flights were launched by Jacques Charles and the Nicolas-Louis Robert.

Benjamin Franklin was a witness to the 1783 flights by Montgolfier brothers. When he was asked by another observer, "What use is it?" he replied, "What use is a newborn baby?" In 1896, mathematical physicist and engineer 1st Baron Kelvin wrote, "I have not the smallest molecule of faith in aerial navigation other than ballooning or of expectation of good results from any of the trials we hear of". 7 years later, in 1903, the Wright brothers made the first controlled, powered and sustained, heavier-than-air human flight.

Since the discovery of the principles of flight, aviation has advanced rapidly. The 20th Century brought us the jet engine, the helicopter, commercial flight, supersonic flight and rocket flight. However, in the latter part of the 20th Century, the pace of advancement slowed down...

Song of the Day: Space Oddity - David Bowie (1969)
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