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    Role of CN
    From: Bruce Stark
    Date: 2004 Oct 13, 19:27 EDT
    I think Alex's comparison of celestial navigation to sailing is apt. He said: ". . .we do Cel Nav simply because we like it. As we like sailing. An airplane is faster, more reliable and easier to use, if your purpose is to go from a point A to a point B. The reason we sail is not that this is the best way of transportation."

    Exactly! As a practical mode of transportation, sailing has been dead for a long, long time. But look at the satisfaction it provides! As Alex suggests, celestial navigation will probably be kept alive for the same reasons sailing has been kept alive. Not because we need it. We don't. But because we enjoy it.

    Frank put it this way: "
    I think there's a strong analogy in this current situation to the final days
    of lunars in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Back in 1850 the
    question would have been "What's the best backup for a ship's chronometer?" And the
    answer most navigators had settled on by that date was "Another
    chronometer!". Some small number of navigators continued to count lunars as their emergency
    backup, but in truth, they were shooting lunars for the same reasons that we
    shoot lunars today. For fun and challenge and a connection with the past.

    We don't need to defend celestial navigation as necessary. More often than not it's the "unnecessary" things we do that keep our minds alive, and that make life interesting.


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