[Kompleksnaia samodeiatel’naia ekspeditsiia po izucheniiu Tungusskogo meteorita: poiski al’ternativnykh form sotsial’nosti glubokogo kosmosa v nedrakh sovetskoi nauki]
Type of publication: Research Article
Complex Amateur Expedition (CAE), Tunguska meteorite, enthusiasm, Soviet science, outer space
The article discusses the early period (1959–1963) in the history of the Complex Amateur Expedition for studying the Tunguska meteorite (CAE), associated with the testing of a hypothesis about the artificial origin of the meteorite (as an exploded extraterrestrial spacecraft). Drawing on D. Raff’s “forward-looking approach”, we examine the historical evidences in the immediate context of their origin. We suggest an explanation for the extraordinary fact that the first team to arrive at the meteorite impact area was that of young enthusiasts from Tomsk, eager to test new research methods and technologies, not the professional researchers from the Committee for Studying Meteorites of USSR’s Academy of Sciences. We argue that the analysis of CAE’s experience helps us uncover important details about the emergence of breakthrough research practices in the study of outer space on Earth. The article is the first attempt at considering the phenomenon of CAE beyond the commonly accepted framework of ideologized (binary) notions about science and society in the former USSR.
This research was supported by the following institutions and grants: Russin Foundation for Basic Research,
Popravko, I.G., and I.H. Tchalakov. 2019. A Complex Amateur Expedition for Studying the Tunguska Meteorite: A Search for an Outer Space Alternative Form of Sociality in the Depth of Soviet Science? [Kompleksnaia samodeiatel’naia ekspeditsiia po izucheniiu Tungusskogo meteorita: poiski al’ternativnykh form sotsial’nosti glubokogo kosmosa v nedrakh sovetskoi nauki]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 6: 49–66. https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954150007768-4
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