Sunday, May 25, 2008

Can't stop the signal.

The future keeps coming.

Stop and think about the following for a second: My first reaction to today's news was "Ho hum. Another lander on Mars."

What was epochal in '76 seems as routine as a trip to the grocery store in '08.

Next we can try experimental animals or maybe politicians, and if they survive the rigors of the trip, we'll be ready for a manned expedition.

9 comments:

Stingray said...

Politicians? I thought the plan was to eventually have humans living there. Why bias the whole thing to failure from the get-go like that?

The first astronauts will show up and get cracking on assembling a place with some nice atmosphere, and before they can drive the first tent stake, they'll be up to their helmets in permits, building inspectors, environmental impact assessments, easements for habitat of the rare and endangered martian killthehuman bacteria, and if you want a variance for the atmosphere processors you'll need to talk to Bob at the department of martian oversight and meddling, but they're only open on a schedule with no repeating patterns, and....

Brad K. said...

*laughing*

"Experimental animals" sounds like Ol' Sue, from the book "Forest Gump". The book was a quite different story from the movie, and included a NASA scene with Forest being shot into orbit with a male ape. Only the males were supposed to be aggressive, so NASA named this ape 'Sue'. Forest really looked up to Ol' Sue.

"David's Sling" is an interesting book, very snide toward what the 1960's called the "military industrial complex", or big business defense contractors. Several weapons systems, effective because they are cheap and modest in goal, include unmanned air vehicles for surveying and bombing enemy positions and 'hoppers' - small robots that seek out and shoot enemy officers. Remotely landing and operating a Mars lander seems almost to meet the technology to implement 'hoppers'. Think if we could deploy moderately inexpensive gadgets in Afghanistan and Iraq that would seek out the guys sending off the bombers.

There are those of us that still wait for lunar colonies, and low to mid-level orbital colonies about Earth and Mars, as well as mining in the asteroid belt. Between an easily distracted Congress and near-sighted market forces, we lost a *lot* of space capability and space opportunities since 1967. We should be playing catch-up to the youthful innovation and accomplishment-rich space programs in China and Japan and Europe. Apparently we don't care if the people that ransacked and hold Tibet want orbital facilities for military or mercantile purposes. I know I would rather be there charging admission, rather than hoping they allow us to pass through.

Johnny said...

Just wait til I get my gunships in high orbit. We'll see what type of `environmental impact statement' is necessary for a rain of M-type asteroids on the unworthy...

Don Gwinn said...

At least the BBC covered it in depth--I hear it on NPR.

They're expecting to find water that used to be liquid based on their first look around. That's just too cool.

John Stephens said...

"Stop and think about the following for a second: My first reaction to today's news was "Ho hum. Another lander on Mars.""

The same thing happened to me the other day. I was grumbling about the slow speed on WildBlue, and then it hit me: I'm sitting at a computer, that I own, communicating with a satellite in Outer Space, and I'm complaining that it's NOT GOOD ENOUGH?

If I'd even been allowed in the presence of anything like that back in 1976, I'd have knelt down and chanted "I am not WORTHY!" until they tossed me out of the building.

Shane said...

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/main/index.html
"A telescopic camera in orbit around Mars caught a view of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander suspended from its parachute during the lander's successful arrival at Mars Sunday evening, May 25."
This is the COOLEST picture yet.

Mattexian said...

Y'all misunderstand, we're not sending politicians to Mars as test subjects, we're gonna use it as our next penal colony!

Tam said...

I'm down with that.

JHardin said...

Mars? A penal colony for politicians?

Pfff. Try Venus.