June 29th, 2007

Mars from Earth

Late-Nite Science: Mars edition

Lately, I feel like I spend more time on Mars than Earth, which ain't so bad, and things just keep getting more interesting:

"NASA Mars Rover Ready For Descent Into Crater"

"PASADENA, Calif. - NASA's Mars rover Opportunity is scheduled to begin a descent down a rock-paved slope into the Red Planet's massive Victoria Crater. This latest trek carries real risk for the long-lived robotic explorer, but NASA and the Mars Rover science team expect it to provide valuable science.

Opportunity already has been exploring layered rocks in cliffs around Victoria Crater. The team has planned the descent carefully to enable an eventual exit, but Opportunity could become trapped inside the crater or lose some capabilities. The rover has operated more than 12 times longer than its originally intended 90 days.

The scientific allure is the chance to examine and investigate the compositions and textures of exposed materials in the crater's depths for clues about ancient, wet environments. As the rover travels farther down the slope, it will be able to examine increasingly older rocks in the exposed walls of the crater."

Click the link above for the full story...

Howard Hughes wouldn't, if she were you.

This will be the disorganized sort of entry.

They happen, sometimes.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,197 words on The Dinosaurs of Mars.

It wasn't a bad day, all in all. Just after dark, as we were getting ready to walk, thunderstorms rolled in, and it rained until after midnight, I think. Which was nice, even if we didn't get our walk. What's a little muscle atrophy in the age of automation? I lay on the sofa listening to the rain, smelling it through an open window, talking with Spooky. Nothing on earth is as comforting as the sound of a steady summer rain. All day, the cicadas screamed in the trees, the only creatures that seem to thrive in the heat. The birds are mostly silent throughout the day, emerging at sunset. I don't think I left the house yesterday. No, I didn't. I try not to let that happen these days.

Last night, there was more "comfort TV," first the second episode of Deadwood ("Deep Water") and more Firefly ("Serenity," parts 1 & 2). Earlier, I finally finished Jay Parini's John Steinbeck: A Life, which left me sort of sad and in ill-spirits. I recall, at some point, Poppy (docbrite) saying to me how the thing she hated about biographies was that they almost all ended the same way, with the main character's death. I kept hoping this book would end before that, but no one will be spared, no one will be spared. No more bios for a while. Instead, I shall move along to The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey: Unearthing the Origins of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans (2004) by Chris Beard. It was a birthday gift from a reader, but I'll be frelled if I can recall from just who. Whoever you were, thanks, because fossil prosimians make me happy.

Regarding Sirenia Digest, yesterday stsisyphus had this to say about #19:

BTB, my jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw this issue alone was 42 freaking pages (give or take) of either exclusive or hard-to-find content. You don't need poison spurs to convince people that's a good deal.

I'm just trying to take care of my subscribers, whom I really do cherish. And my thanks to the newest subscriber, alvyarin, who signed up just this morning.

Also, my thanks to Scott Connors and Ron Hilger for sending me The End of the Story: The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, Volume I, which reached me yesterday. Another beautiful volume from Night Shade Books.

Right. Time to wrap this up. Mars awaits...