Saturday, May 31, 2008

Greetings From Mars

Image credit: NASA, via University of Arizona.

My apologies to any dial-up users who may be dropping by, but I love this picture. NASA has accomplished something astonishing this month, which is to send a probe tens of millions of miles through space, land it on another planet, and have it start up and perform its mission with nary a hitch.

I'll spare you the long-winded explanation of why that's such an accomplishment, and just point out that so far, space agencies from five nations have tried to do this, and only NASA has succeeded.

That's a DVD on the lander's case, by the way, just to the left of the flag. It contains the usual greetings from Earth, videos and pictures. I hope it contains instructions on how to play it. For some reason, I can't believe that Martians use the same standards we do.

As I've noted lately, we're a country with its share of fools, cowards, and jackasses. Still, we're also a country full of people who are clever enough to do something like this, and wise enough to make the attempt.

It's things like this that give me hope.

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