Friday, December 08, 2006

The Slow Road to Mars

The shuttle Discovery couldn't quite launch yesterday because of weather, but they will try again Saturday. NASA has just announced evidence for recent water on Mars (much better than the evidence for "dark energy"). Photo on the left was taken in 1999, and the right photo shows a flow that wasn't there before. The cliffside at top shows evidence of erosion. Water means life.

The 1960's show THUNDERBIRDS had the first Mars landing in the year 2065. Back then that must have seemed silly; at the rate they were progressing people would be walking Mars by the 1980's. Present plans have the Mars mission no earlier than 2029, though that might be delayed or even cancelled. It is a great disappointment that my generation has been stuck in low Earth orbit. Many times I have seen Mars in the sky, and thought like John Carter that one could reach out and touch it. Evidence for water and life on another world might be just a short trip away.


Blogger Rae Ann said...

Here's a wild sci-fi idea: Suppose the recent activity of the Sun and other galactic things that might be contributing to Earth warming is also doing something on Mars to help the water flow? LOL, it's a better plot than the movie "Mission to Mars", don't you think? ;-)

10:59 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Hee hee, any plot is better than Mishmash to Mars. Around the same time there was an even worse movie called "Red Planet."

2:09 PM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

While looking around at Nigel Cook's writings, I found one of the most hilarious things I've seen written about science / technology by Ivor Catt on his "anomaly".

I should mention that I spent years designing digital logic, including TTL and ECL, so my sense of humor may be a bit blunted. Catt is undoubtedly correct.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous ttyler5 said...

Have you read Zubrin's The Case for Mars?

If I were Bill Gates, that's what I'd be doing with my foundation money! :^D

6:19 PM  
Anonymous ttyler5 said...

And hey, don't make fun of Mission to Mars, it begins right here in Dickinson, Texas at an astronauts pre-launch party, just a few years from now!

I haven't asked the author why, outside the fact that we are the southern tip of the NASA/JSC community here and lotsa astronauts and space scientists have lived here, but it may have been a tribute to our most prominent Spaceman-citizen, Gene Krantz! :^D

6:23 PM  
Anonymous ttyler5 said...

Ooops! Please forgive typo, that's Kranz!

6:26 PM  

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