Posts Tagged ‘Mars

22
Nov
08

Dis n'at

Been a trying couple of days, due to getting the plague and waiting for the impending snow doom to arrive — which, of course, in my neighborhood, never did.

So as I sit here having an evening beer and food, here’s some random thoughts that I’ve had over the past few days:

UFOs: Now, History Channel, for whatever reason, loves their UFOs — and I love to watch its shows on them. Being a geek, there’s always a part of me that always hopes that the stories are true … but then the pragmatic side kicks in and it’s like “Yeah…” However, they had an interesting one called “The Gray’s Agenda.” In it were people who claimed they were abducted by the Gray Aliens (you know, tall, big bug eyes and grey in color). And Apparently, there are two sides of these folks — ones that think the Grays are a menace and intend to do harm, while the other camp thinks that they’re here to help us destroying ourselves.

And really, after hearing that, the only thing I could think of was two aliens battling it out in a pro-wrestling matching for the soul of humanity. The ineffective blows. The slow dives from the top ropes. One of them had to have a finishing move called “The Probe.” And you know, somehow it all just fits, and I can’t explain why.

Mars: There was another show on WQED about what it would take to terraform Mars. And the interesting thing about it was it talked about, if it happened, what would happen to man in an evolutionary sense. For example, tests in zero gravity show dramatic changes in the heart in a few months, so what would happen in 10 generations of humans living on Mars? Weaker physically, but bigger brains? Would the continuous “hopping” in the lower gravity affect the legs? I really wish they would have explored that end a little deeper, because that was some cool stuff right there — colonizing other worlds could create basically human cousins, and that’s some pretty funktastic stuff right there.

Console games: So, on a friend’s advice, I went and bought Fallout 3 for the PS3. I’m just starting to get into it, but one thing I absolutely do know — I suck at shooter style games on a console system. I’m fine on a keyboard, but I can never get the hang of those controllers — and to be honest, I think I gave up on consoles after games like Street Fighter II came out, where you had to do all kinds of funky combos in order to get the killer moves.

Of course, I’m sure things would go better if I bothered to read Fallout 3’s instruction manual, but you know, where’s the fun in that? I mean, I discover new stuff all the time — and it was funny as hell when I targeted this guard’s torso, and shot — only to discover that I had my BB gun equipped…

Getting wood: I have a wood burner that I use to heat my house — mainly because my house is a drafty barn, and it’s just cheaper and more effective than to use my 70s era furnace. But this year, I got some good wood. (Go ahead, keep tee-heeing, you pervs), and the house has been much toastier than normal. This year, I got plenty of oak in the stacks that I bought, which burns longer and hotter than your average wood (shut it). So, I’m very pleased this year. I still wake up going “Oh shit! I gotta throw wood in the burner” — but there’s always hot coals and it always fires up right away. And I can sleep in a t-shirt and sweatpants and I’m absolutely fine. That’s awesome. I need to get wood like that every year.

The Warriors: Apparently my friends are banning me from this movie. I keep watching it because it’s so bad that its incredibly entertaining to watch, but they’re tired of me quoting it. So, apparently if I keep it up, I’M GONNA GET JAPPED!

Ok ok, that’s enough. Time for sleep.

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11
Nov
08

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.




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