Mars: Does it matter?

Posted on January 2, 2009. Filed under: Culture, Musings, Philosophy |

marsbase_th150In my last post I intimated I may comment a bit more on Time Magazine‘s Top 10 Lists of 2008. There are a lot of lists on the list. I enjoy year-end retrospectives, but don’t want to spend TOO much time on them. I prefer to select which ideas I want to continue; to bring into the new year with me.

One of Time‘s lists is “Top 10 Scientific Discoveries“. Our local University’s work on the Phoenix Mars Lander mission was recognized, second only to the Large Hadron Collider! (Phoenix found water!!!)Β  On the University of Arizona’s own “top 10” list the Lander was #1, of course! πŸ™‚ In addition to ongoing projects like the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station, both China and India had major successful projects in the news.

I rattled on quite a bit, last year, about the U of A and their science programs. I’m afraid I may say a great deal more this year, as 2009 has been declared THE YEAR OF SCIENCE, for a variety of interesting reasons—check them out! Our U. is all set to launch a number of events to educate and excite us, so I’m excited, too!

As mentioned, the University’s major space-mission focus in 2008 was on the planet Mars. There will be more Martian news this year, too. So, why does Mars matter? On one level it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter at all if it doesn’t interest you. 😎 There are those who say that countries “shouldn’t spend all that money” on space programs when we have “X” issues here on earth.

Perhaps each of us have our priorities; things or programs which matter to us. All I can say is that Mars matters to me! The excitement and possibility of there being life beyond our little planet enhances my perspective of what we can be. Whether we discover “intelligent” life anywhere in the universe (including on earth) πŸ˜‰ or not, does not matter as much to me as the quest which expands our vision. It interests me to look extra-terrestrially, and perhaps extra-physically for resources, energy, and (very likely) for real estate, to further our conscious and physical evolution.

So Mars matters because it is the most earth-like planetary body we’ve found so far. It is relatively close. It could help provide the answers to many questions about our physical origins. It’s a fun place; perhaps I’ll see you there one day. πŸ˜€


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10 Responses to “Mars: Does it matter?”

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I am an amateur astronomer. I absolutely agree with you about Mars. I just got the third edition of “The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide”. I have the First edition but this one has a lot of the newer stuff in it. The LHC certainly was big news but I am more interested in finding life out there because you know darn well it exists.
I have two huge skylights in my bedroom and I always look out at night before I go to sleep. I am going to miss them in my new home but the upside is I will have a darker sky and more sky to look at in the new place. I am going to dig out my telescope when I move.

A year of science sounds like a great idea. Even though every year brings new discoveries. I don’t really have the head for science, but it’s fascinating the way we are constantly discovering more about the way the universe works. In a way, I think the real reason Mars matters is simply – and I’m aware this is a clichΓ© – because it’s there. That’s reason enough for science, anyway.

I do agree with Bobby’s point – because it is there – but it does have far more ramifications for us.

What we have to look at is something that we humans do on a regular basis – well, us being the technologically advanced humans we are today.

Our planet will have far too many people on it soon enough – but we don’t plan! We haven’t planned for donkeys years – we see the health of the planet we have now and are still debating it – there is a problem and we do nought about it because we haven’t decided what is causing it – does that matter? Whether is be fossil fuel or nature herself – we must prepare, and if it is nature then we are in for a shock, mother nature can do far more damage than any amount of fossil fuel – I think that George Calin said it best – “The planet is fine – it is us that are in peril! Once we have gone nature will take her course and in a few years you won’t even know we had been here!”

The red planet may be far away and some may say that we spend too much money – but, and this is the BIG but – if we don’t make plans to get some of the people on this planet relocated – we could see the death of the human race far quicker than anything else that used to be on top of the pile – the dinos lasted what, 250 million years? We have been upright for less than a million – that is a mere blink of an eye.

10 billion people will reside here around 2050 – something has to be done, no?

Yes, this year is my Year of Science, too. (I’ve committed to the Science Reading Challenge… I think Joan is, too!)

Mars matters to me too πŸ™‚ I am living just 1.5 hours away from NASA, and it always is a mind-boggling experience. I am a space science freak πŸ˜€ Can’t wait for the next space mission launch.. 3…2..1.. BLAST!!!

I enjoy reading of discoveries out in space and seeing the images that are sent back. Very neat stuff! Even though I’ll admit, thinking of years (especially) or even distance in the millions makes my head hurt.

Like Will said, with our global population expanding like it is, something has to be done at some point. I believe that if we don’t either find another place to inhabit, or find a way to inhabit a place we already know of, we’ll one day see some sort of population control (something like allowing only x number of children per couple for a while) to avoid the strains that we’d have on fresh water and food supplies.

I knew you had that interest, Joan! I’m imagining you in your new place with your telescope. I didn’t know there was a new edition, I haven’t looked at the book in years. I’ll have to get hold of it, thanks!

It is a cliche, B0bby, yet it is the best of reasons! Things that are “there” stimulate our creativity in unexpected ways. With scientists all over the world publishing and hosting events this year, who knows what we’ll be discussing by year end?

I agree with the first part of Mr. Carlin’s comment, actually, Will. The planet is fine…yet, it seems to me it will benefit humankind in many ways to explore and colonize others. You have an excellent point about planning. Other cultures; other times have considered their impact upon their resources. We could perhaps see the death of the human race as we know it, but, being me, I have to think something even better will evolve, if that’s the case. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the pertinent comment.

Somehow I didn’t know about the Science Reading Challenge, C., so I googled it. Thank you for that! I’m in! It’s easy, and it’s worthy!!! πŸ˜€

Oooh, Kiran, I knew you were in Florida, but I didn’t realize you were that close! I’ve read things that say the incoming presidential administration will look at space travel in a new way; working with NASA, but also with other possibilities. πŸ™‚

The distances are nearly incomprehensible, aren’t they, Shane? I’m certainly hoping we learn to have more respect for our resources, and if this includes colonizing space, then so be it. The scenario you discuss is being tried in China, with mixed results. I certainly don’t want to curtail people’s freedom, but, you know, when the plane is full, passengers get bumped. I wish us all luck in this. πŸ™‚

They truly are. It kinda gives you the feeling of how small our lives really are.

I’m going to do some reading on the results of the China scenario. It would be ashame to lose the freedom to have the number of children we’d like, but if we do like we normally do and not plan ahead but wait until the problem is here, we may very well see that.

Hopefully that won’t be the case and here’s to 2009 bringing us some awesome discoveries! πŸ˜€

Or how about this: Astronomy Reading Challenge?

(HOW do you embed links!??!?!)

Shane, one of the results of the “one child per family” policy that China has been implementing, with various degrees of success, is that orphanages are filled with female children, because if a family can only have one child, it’s traditional and considered important for it to be a boy. Besides being unfair, and sexist, and stuff, it will cause social issues in the future as there will be too few girls to partner with all those boys. That’s only ONE social aspect. I’ll be interested in what you find in your research.

Well, I didn’t know about that one, either. Thanks for the link, bkclubcare. How do you embed links? Looks like you did! The way I do it in blog comments is I write it in a draft post I keep for such things, then switch to HTML view and copy the code. It’s faster than looking up the code, which I tend not to remember.

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