When people scoff at sending humans to Mars, and say that pictures of wheel marks on a red desert are not worth the trouble when there are so many things here at home that we could be spending money on, it makes me claustrophobic. It’s as if we’re trying, out of guilt or shame, to crawl back into the cave and watch the shadows on the wall. We’re trying to stay children in our parents’ house, knowing that the road leads to town, and then to another town. We’re saying, “Look, we made a really great toilet that flushes itself! Remember that printing press? That was pretty neat. We even made pyramids — those things are huge! Can’t we just be happy with making a great toilet even greater? Do we really have to go to Mars?”
But Mars is waiting. It spins now outside our human reach. We must realize that the work of growing up is not something we can cut when the budget gets tight. It is mission critical, for the intellectual life of the species, for the future of humans, not to stagnate, not to wither, but to stretch, and reach, and always to expand.
— Lydia Netzer
This is an awesome Op-Ed and all of you should go read it.
Cutaway drawing of Space Shuttle. Artist: Barron Storey. In: The Space Shuttle At Work, 1979.
I used to study these so carefully so intently when I was a kid.
There was a 3-ft by 4-ft poster of this. II had it on the wall in my bedroom as a kid.
New Comet Discovered—May Become “One of Brightest in History”
Next year comet 2012 S1 might outshine the moon.
If astronomers’ early predictions hold true, the holidays next year may hold a glowing gift for stargazers—a superbright comet, just discovered streaking near Saturn.
Even with powerful telescopes, comet 2012 S1 (ISON) is now just a faint glow in the constellation Cancer. But the ball of ice and rocks might become visible to the naked eye for a few months in late 2013 and early 2014—perhaps outshining the moon, astronomers say.
The comet is already remarkably bright, given how far it is from the sun, astronomer Raminder Singh Samra said. What’s more, 2012 S1 seems to be following the path of the Great Comet of 1680, considered one of the most spectacular ever seen from Earth.
Continue Reading at National Geographic.
Image of Comet 2012 S1 from Space.com