Monday, May 26, 2008

You Stick Your Right Foot Out . .

. . and make sure it's firmly planted. There's work to be down now.



I wouldn't say I've been holding my breath, but it still did come as quite a relief to learn that the Phoenix has landed successfully on Mars. There were no bouncing bags on this mission as like those which made the two Mars Rovers landings so successful. This one came down standing, as it were.

Now, to the mission.

First Phoenix images reveal 'quilted' Martian terrain

...
Phoenix is designed to dig down to the ice and search for traces of organic residue that might indicate whether this part of Mars could have been habitable in the past.

--snip--

Prior to this evening, NASA's recent successes – including Mars Pathfiner in 1997 and the two Mars Exploration Rovers in 2004 – have all bounced to the surface of the Red Planet encased in inflatable air bags.

Phoenix and future missions, including the more ambitious Mars Science Laboratory, were designed to land with thrusters, considered a must for heavier payloads – and for any future attempt to send astronauts on Mars.

"The way we're going to land humans on Mars is with propulsive systems and landing legs," said Ed Weiler, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

[Talk about "look before you leap"!]


On a timely note; I think that this landing on Mars is an incredibly significant Memorial to the men and women who've given their lives so that people could continue to freely discover all that our universe has to offer. There are so many reasons to hate War, and so many more to be grateful to the Warriors who have fought and sacrificed for their countries. I hope that, going into the depths of our Solar system, we have ever less need for such sacrifices, and ever more opportunities for Heroes to be made sans killing.

Fighting Ignorance, not each other, is what missions such as this one are all about.

L8

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this link, Michael. I'd heard about Phoenix's landing, but I hadn't read anything about it yet. Fascinating ... amazingly far away and alien, and yet the terrain looks strangely familiar, too.

    I also appreciated how you tied the landing in with Memorial Day. What a inspiring and hopeful way to think of it. I hope with you that we will, someday, learn to be human without needing warriors, and love our heroes for their more peaceful actions. Think we'll ever get there?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think the exploration of space is one of the noblest things we do. For one thing, it is nearly pure curiosity. Some day there might be exploitation, but for now we're simply poking around because we just want to know what's out there. And for another thing, it's so damned expensive that we have to cooperate with each other in order to do it at all, and then there might not be enough money left over for bombs and stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The images look so much like a part of Earth! If we can export life there, we would double life's chances -- in case something happens to Earth!

    ReplyDelete
  4. i like this sort of stuff too but can't help but feel uneasy in that the money could be better spent.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't thin that our great-great grandkids will see that time, Wren. I do think our descendants somewhere down the line will.

    Right about the time there's no money left over for those bombs and stuff, eh Larry. ;)

    Regardless of the violence inherent in Life's existence, I do believe that's an eminently worthy goal, AS.

    Always true, Michael. Thing is, if we give up on these sort of expenditures, we'll only be regressing and it'll only really benefit the folks in power in the short-term; an No One in the long run. We're faulty critters. Doesn't mean we should be only faulty. Life's just way too complicated for us to be taking one thing at a time; especially if we're just gonna get that thing wrong anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love space exploration. Thanks for the update.

    Could we send Bush and Cheney to Jupiter and leave them there?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hmmm... Not a bad idea, but I think it'd be better to have them explore inner space; how 'bout we give 'em each a nice, contemplatively cell inside the bowels of Gitmo?

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Our weatherman is now giving weather reports for Mars. Weird!

    ReplyDelete