Tuf vs. Comet Catchers – First Draft

Choose a spacecraft from fiction and write an ethnography of the day-to-day life of it’s crew. Compare these finding with Comet Catchers.

In this essay I am going to be examining and comparing the ethnographical day-to-day life of Haviland Tuf with the documentary Comet Catchers. Haviland Tuf is a fictional character from the popular novel Tuf Voyaging by George Martin. In which he beautifully creates this world of self-discovery, learning and adventure. This theme perfectly ties in with the premise of the Rosetta Mission. Although Tuf’s spacecraft, The Arc, is imaginary so in reality is far more complex than our knowledge at this time. I will be exploring Tuf Voyaging and Comet Catchers versions of experience and also how they differ in the wide scope of space technology. Arguing the question, are the scientist of today getting any closer to a future like Haviland Tuf.

“Make no choice, and you have chosen. Failure to decide, because you lack the right, is itself a decision” – George R.R. Martin, Tuf Voyaging

Tuf Voyaging features the notorious Haviland Tuf, a solitary space trader who owns The Arc. A 30 kilometre long ’seedship’ with ecological engineering capabilities. The entire premise to the novel is a segment of Tuf’s life and his day-to-day mischief concerning his job. His customs and habits are for the most part quite regular and normal. Although some are a little different to what we may see toady. He loves to better himself with learning and reading but also everyday needs to clone more cats which he uses for his own benefit. Each day is different from the last with Tuf even though he’s rather set in his ways.

There are five important focus points I want to touch on first before I look into Tuf’s ethnographical day-to-day life. They include technology, science, imagination, experience and culture. I want to briefly compare Tufs relevance to the subjects with some aspects from comet catchers. Doing this made it possible to see which topic I could talk more about concerning my argument. One that was a possible choice was imagination, Tuf uses imagination in his everyday life by coming up with clever answers to problems. He creates creatures to combat issues but needs to make sure they don’t cause even more issues. This is quite similar to how the scientist think in Comet Catchers by coming up with inventive solutions. For example using the four prog device on their harpoon was a brilliant idea because they knew the surface on the comet was very brittle but weren’t sure how much. Imagination is a huge part to both Tuf and the scientists way of life without it they would achieve nothing, so considering this and humans imaginations we could possibly reach a future likes Tufs. The only thing holding is back is our scientific knowledge. This was another contender for my chosen subject. Science in Tufs universe is far more complex than our own he and can quickly clone new animals even ones that don’t already exist. Something that we just haven’t accomplish yet and although the scientists are ahead in Comet Catchers they just don’t share the scientific knowledge that Tuf does, maybe in our future perhaps but not now. This point argues that maybe we couldn’t actually have a future like Tufs maybe that is just to far out of our reach. Contradictingly we have no idea what will happen in the future. In Comet Catchers Rosetta is a self-sustaining craft which generates power off the sun much like The Arc which also self sustains creating food for both Tuf and his cats. Screenshot From Comet Catchers (2014)Our technology is certainly not to a Tuf standard but from the documentary you can see that we are certainly getting there. The scientists broke records with the longest burn ever attempted of a spacecraft, it was also the first to match a comets speed. Could this mean that the scientist will continuously break records? Could we reach a technological achievement similar to a universe like Tufs?

Perhaps. Tuf experiences failure on a regular basis it’s what helps him to move forward and improve. His experiences help him to overcome challenges. At first he has no experience but by failing he forces himself to improve. This works with Comet Catchers also which gives us hope that maybe one day we can have a more technologically advanced future. For example in the documentary its starts by waking Rosetta up because there previous attempt failed, which made the scientists try even harder this time and they became more creative in their thinking. Lastly is culture, Tuf himself has little culture he is simple, solitary man. The culture in the novel comes from the planets he visits, they share new habits and customs with him which extend his thinking. Different cultures are also quite important in our thinking it allows us to see in different ways. In Comet Catchers there is little culture to analyse, the technology itself doesn’t have much culture but the technology does create culture. In the sixties the moon landing were a huge worlwide voyage and infected everything from music to fashion. Culture affects everything and everyone sometimes without us even knowing but is it going to help us get to a scientifically more advanced level. In the way we think it certainly could help…


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