Saying good-bye is never easy

So, it was with a bit of sadness that I heard the news: NASA has ended the Phoenix mission on Mars.

Good-bye old friend

Good-bye old friend

Now, I know most of you will be all, “Pffffft. Who cares?” Well, I do. For any number of reasons.

If you haven’t been paying attention to the geekery, the Phoenix lander found ice on Mars. Do you get the implications of what that means? That means that there is the potential for life there. Sure, it’ll be microbial, if it’s there at all — but still — if it is there — HOLY COW.

As I’ve said before, I’m a geek. Anything NASA does makes me feel like I’m 10 again, looking up at that big sky and dreaming about flying among the stars and seeing the beauty of the universe. All of the world’s shenanigans about whose God is right, the silliness of race and culture and whose politics is best feel so insignificant when I think about exploring the universe. And for me, that’s a wonderful feeling.

But the impact of Phoenix’s mission is, well, “WOW.” I know it’s just a step, but we’re like the infants of the universe, slowly gaining our strength, taking our first steps and gaining the ability to leave the cradle. And once we find life in any form on a different world, it’s going to change everything. Religion will have to be re-evaluated. We’re going to have to shed some of our preconceptions and face the fact that somewhere, out there, we will eventually meet sentient life — and we better have our shit together when we do.

So congratulations on another successful mission, NASA. And please, keep the missions flying.


4 Responses to “Saying good-bye is never easy”

  1. November 11, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    isn’t it weird how finding ice there got so little play in the media, yet jennifer aniston saying angelina jolie’s actions were “uncool” when she first met mr pitt is all over the websites today! stupid. i’m with you, NASA (moon) rocks.

  2. 2 Three
    November 11, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Oh man, don’t even get me started on how scientific discoveries as large as water found on Mars get so little attention, and useless celebrities finding a zit on their butts garner all kinds of coverage. Seriously, I want to just start slapping people.

    Hell, I had a hard time finding out if Phoenix even landed safely — but I’m sure I could have easily found out the scoop on any celebrity in 30 seconds.

  3. November 14, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Well to be fair, Mars does not have a really sweet ass like Jennifer Anniston…

    Actually I was impressed at the first photos I saw and blow away by the potential – not just for life – but also for us maybe setting up camp up there someday.

    As for the Phoenix… when questioned if it could come back to life after the winter, one of the designers said that it was named Phoenix for a reason.

  4. 4 Three
    November 14, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    I hope that designer is right!

    And I get a little giddy at the prospect of setting up camp there. I just hope I live long enough to see it.

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