Monday, May 26, 2008

Next Stop, Mars!

Sun Ra would've been thrilled if NASA could've timed their new probe's landing just a little better, a few days earlier, but what the heck - it's close enough! I'll take it as a birthday present from space for both of us. Check out the photogallery - pretty damn cool.

One of the best days of my childhood was June 20, 1976. Viking I touched down on the surface of Mars - Mars, dammit! - and I can still feel the Wisconsin State Journal in my hands, as I unfolded it standing in our dining room, almost trembling with excitement, to look at those first beautiful color photos of Mars. A blue sky - Mars has a blue sky!

But it really didn't. The first images weren't color-corrected. But for a day I was wandering around on Mars everywhere I went under a pale blue sky.

The sky may be red or pink or whatever in reality, but I'm still hoping I can someday go there. Or my son can. Earth is not enough, folks - for the sake of our hearts alone, we have to keep going. There's problems to fix on this planet, yes, but there's money and human resources galore to fix them and to go out into space. Those with the power and control of the resources would like us to think otherwise, says the paranoid spaceman in my head, so that they can continue their wars and their petty squabbles and their ignorant hatreds. The rest of us can leave them here to rot, I sometimes think, but I guess that's not fair. That's the angry spaceman talking.

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