Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sunset on Mars.

It's blue.

Photo by the "Spirit" Mars rover, from NASA/JPL's Mars exploration rover site, thanks to a link from Cosmic Log.

Update: TenaciousK raises an interesting question.


  1. Thanks for the link. Those photos are amazing.

  2. Lovely, Claude. Thanks for posting this.

    I followed the cosmic log link to a fella who has a plan to terraform mars in a thousand years.

    I wonder if anyone's ever asked him about a plan to terraform earth? You know - should future events warrant it.

  3. Anonymous10:11 AM

    Something poetic about a blue sunset -- in a melancholy sort of way.

  4. TK: better to practice there, no?

  5. Keifus: no, not better to practice there - not at all!

    The folly of thinking we could succesfully terraform mars when we can't even take care of this ideally suited planet is flabbergasting to me. It's kind've like living in this ideal house, never taking the trash out, and thinking about constructing a hut out of the kindling in the backyard because the place is getting unreasonably messy!

    I was a huge science fiction fan, once upon a time, and I'd like to believe such things are possible. Spending money on such a project, however, is like blowing grocery money on lottery tickets while the kids are hungry at home, and the pantry is running short. It's a lovely idea, and makes for some great books, but I'd much rather see us channel some real effort into rehabilitating this "once-salubrious blue-green orb" than pretending we could turn that rather uninviting wasteland into a sort of eden-like replacement.

  6. Oh, and where are my manners (sheesh!).

    Welcome to Wikifray, Claude. I'm very glad you decided to join us.

  7. Thanks, TK. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do now that I'm "on", but I appreciate the honor.

  8. Ah well, I'm enough of an optimist to suggest that any technolgy development will reap rewards, and anyway, we'd be better off attempting the quixotic feat of trying to make gold of Mars' thin gruel than we would, say, in vaporizing Iraq. Though even on the list of scientific priorities, it's not at the top.

    (And if we fail, it won't kill anyone...other than the people who could've used the health insurance.)

    Claude: Hey man, just be yourself. It'll help the hit count if nothing else. (We all know you're here by now, but now we'll also know if you're doing anything...)


  9. Oh and Claude, if you ever write something you want particularly highlighted, you can post it there (broader readership. Well, probably, anyway) or cross post it here and there. You'll get traffic coming over, though I think the comment feed produces a fair amount of traffic itself.

    Keifus - oh, I just think the whole thing is ironic. We have a lovely planet that we're not taking good care of, but we're looking at the vacant lot next door instead of taking out the trash and fixing the toilet.

    But yeah - better there than Iraq. Besides, mars needs women.

    You remember that science fiction story about venutian vacations, or something? Maybe we could use mars homesteads for the same purpose.

    To cull the rubes from the gene pool.

  10. the benefit i see in attempts to terraform (rather doomed to failure as they are) is what it could teach us about how planetary systems actually work.

    given, though, that we theorize mars doesn't have the gravitational power to hold a atmosphere conducive to life (as we know it), i'm unsure why anyone thinks terraforming, even if succesfull, would stick.

  11. Insufficient gravity? Maybe not.

  12. I love this photo. Thanks for sharing it. You know, I'm going to Germany in the spring, and my friend there belongs to an astronomy club, so we plan to observe some planets. Can't wait=:)

  13. I had also heard that the gravity is probably sufficient to support a reasonable atmosphere.

    This is the world for which we are perfectly adapted. This one. While it might be possible to live elsewhere (and worth trying at some point, I believe), it seems that one of the primary motivating factors is the ol' homesteading spirit that served us european planters so well.

    We are constantly cradled by our environment in such an unnoticed, but profound way. I think the only people who can understand the amazing unfriendliness of alien environments are out astronauts. Our world is so forgiving. Other worlds, not.

    But - basic science? Yeah, sure, I suppose. Wouldn't be funny, though, if it turns out we ruined an unacknowledged ecosystem we would rather have kept?

    I wonder if we might prove disastrously tasty to alien bacteria and fungi.

    wxsgq: waxing slender girls quietly.

    wrxye: works you endlessly.