greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

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Late-Nite Science: The Phoenix Has Landed

Packing and exhaustion from packing aside, it's been an exciting night, Mars-wise. And I'm hugely relieved that Phoenix is down and transmitting from 68.22°N 234.3°W on the lowlands of the Vastitas Borealis. There are already photographs from the Martian arctic — a distinctly different Martian environment than we've seen before from surface images — just check the NASA Phoenix mission homepage.

I still have very clear memories from July 20th, 1969, sitting on the floor, watching the black and white images being transmitted back from the Apollo 11 mission. I was only five, and my mother made me stop whatever I was doing and watch as Neil Armstrong descend to the lunar surface. "This is something you'll always want to remember," she said. And here I am, almost 39 years later, and I do remember, and tonight I waited while Phoenix rushed towards the surface of Mars. 1969. 2008. The Moon. Mars. Wow.

There are many, many things that humans do which are not worthy of praise. And then there are things like the Moon, and Mars, the exploration of the solar system beyond Earth. Not because I personally think it's very likely human beings will ever live on those other moons and planets in significant numbers. But just to see, just to learn, just to know. Just to wonder at the vasty Cosmos. Wow.
Tags: astronomy, mars
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