Friday, March 10, 2006

Mars, up close

Today's the day that a robot spacecraft attempts to go into orbit around the red planet. I know it's far away and it doesn't have a direct impact on your life. I know we all have more immediate and pressing things to worry about.

I know it's difficult to get jazzed about the space program when soldiers are coming home in body bags, taxes continue to skyrocket and Britney can't seem to figure out how to stick her kid into a car seat.

But sometimes, a little faraway magic is just what we need to inspire us to do better closer to home.

http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/mro/

Your turn: Am I being overly idealistic with this space thing? Can distant, almost-unreal things like this really make a difference on the home front. As Linda Richman would say, discuss.

16 comments:

Chas Ravndal said...

There is quite a possibility that Mars can host life or so I read from the books

Scouser said...

Hi, here via Michele's. Yes the space program (it doesn't matter how distant or insignificant the target) does make a difference. Look at some of the things we now take for granted (which would not be here if not for the space program), the smoke detector, Lasers, cordless power tools. So again I say yes it does make a difference to most of our lives.

rob said...

Yes.

I mean, no.

No...I mean, yes.

Maybe?

Here it is: As much as it pains the amateur astronomer in me, very few people care about the "space thing". With most curiosity sated, the pragmatist in all of us (Yes...all of us) realizes that there are no instamatic, microwaveable, immediately gratifying solutions that can be found in space that will fill any vacuum in our lives. We've resigned ourselves to the notion that no one, at least in my generation, will set foot on the moon...let alone another planet. It doesn't affect us. Why should we care?

However, your idealism isn't ill placed. The further study of Mars will eventually bring about the first manned exploration of Mars; possibly even its colonization. This eventuality will meld the world together as one as, for the first time ever, it's not one nation racing to claim a piece of land or a dead rock; It's one world coming together to conquer another.

The orbit of the MRO will not make an immediate difference on the home front. The success of its reconnaissance, however, someday will.

Star said...

I find space exploration immensely exciting. When I was younger and they showed every launch on tv I watched each one, no matter what tme of day or night. I remember John Glenn orbiting the earth, man walking on the moon and holding my breath with the rest of the world as Apollo 13 lost contact with Earth on re-entry. I think the exploration of the unknown offers us hope that there is something bigger and better out there that can bring us all together.

sage said...

without an inquistive spirit, what will become of the human race? I hope we never give up on exploration, whether on this planet or among the stars...

Prego said...

I'd hate to see what we end up doing to that planet. I'm no Luddite, and I realize that progress is progress, but I question the motive of anyone who heavily finances anything... including space explortation.

your pal,
p

The Gnat's Trumpet said...

If there is a meaning to life, or an underlying purpose of our species, I think it is to continually expand our knowledge. The exploration of space is part of that and, although poorly marketed at the moment, is as exciting and important as any endeavor humankind undertakes.

But in answer to your question, I think we should take pride in the things that our species has been able to accomplish and look forward to the continued building on those accomplishments. If we did, perhaps it would help to diminish in importance the perceived differences between all of us and instead emphasize what we can accomplish when we come together.

Great post.

kenju said...

I am all for it, Carmi. I was in the hospital giving birth to my second child when man first walked on the moon. I was just as excited as they were and I still love to see what they can discover by travelling to distant planets. We have learned a lot from it, especially about earth.

Viamarie said...

Interesting what they discover every now & then. Just shows how powerful God's creation is.

Have a great weekend!

surcie said...

It makes a difference to me. When I hear what scientists learn through space exploration, I can't help but marvel at the universe. I think it's good for the soul to be reminded that life as we know it isn't ALL there is.

ƒåυνέ said...

I'm torn really. I agree with the significances that scouser points out. However, I wonder if we should really be messing around with other planets when we can't even take care of our own.

Sandy said...

Isn't idealism the very thing that drove the space program so many decades ago? And yet look at all the amazing things we have today BECAUSE of the space program. I'm all for it. I can't wait to share the photos with my children.

moon said...

Like scouser said...the first thing that actually came to my mind about the gains made through the space program...was Velcro...its so widely used and taken for granted these days...I can't count how many times I have used it in sewing or craft projects....among all the other things evented ofcourse...but I'll just stick to that one lol
I also think space holds a fasination for alot of us..no matter what ...if we stop marvelling at the spectacular beauty or strive for more knowledge about the vast unknown...and what it can teach us..as a race, we might as well not exist.

Karen said...

I think sometimes it's healthy to focus on other worldly things when our own world seems to be in total chaos. It's good to dream.

Hi Carmi. Greetings from Wisconsin! *waves*

ribbiticus said...

just thinking of "going where no man has ever gone before" is surreal. so i say, yes, it does still make a difference. in a world where people clash because of religion, property, dissenting opinions and the like, sharing something wondrous, such as discoveries in space, will be unifying, even for just that one moment. :)

Carson said...

Tang. Don't forget about Tang. (Do they even have it any more?) My daughter is obsessed with all things space oriented. We track the Pluto mission more often than there is noticable progress. Reaching for the stars, both metaphorically & literally, is a good thing.

(Found you through my sister, the redhead.)