Friday, January 02, 2004

Close Encounters of the Mars Kind



Image are from http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/spotlight/tones01.html

Dear Kari:

When we started blogging back in late August 2003, we started with discussions about the Mars close approach and the interest we share in astronomy. By the way, on New Year's Eve, a couple of days ago, Saturn was on its closest approach. It is very easy right now to see the ringed planet as it is up in the sky at a reasonable hour.

As we start 2004, the attention of this blogger turns once again to the red planet as high drama will take place as the first of the Mars Exploration Rovers will attempt a landing on Saturday. The record of these landings has not been good. This Yahoo/AP news item describes the MER project and reports that the only USA successes have been the two Viking and Sojourner landings. Most other probes have been lost. The latest is the apparent failure of the Beagle to survive the landing.

PBS's Nova will air a documentary, Mars: Dead or Alive, on Sunday January 4, 2004 at 8 pm with a rebroadcast on Tuesday January 6, 2004 at 8 pm.

As someone living in the PST, I can watch the Sugar Bowl but when 8pm rolls around, I'll likely be switching channels.

Take care and be well,
Rene

P.S. On more earthly matters, I will root for your KSU team to beat OSU and I will cheer for LSU to defeat those Oklahoma Sooners.

UPDATE: This is disturbing news. Will Synder bench his star QB? I think he has to. I can't root for KSU if he plays. I think most fans in America, if they know this story, will feel the same way.

UPDATE: As of 10pm (PST) Saturday, the news looks good for the Rover. Woo hoo!!!

UPDATE: Photos are coming in from the Rover!

image from http://www.space.com/images/h_spirit_panorama-mars_02.jpg

UPDATE: Please check out our space consultant Robby for his observations over at his blog. As someone who follows science and technology, I was so excited to hear that the Rover made it. Imagine how much jubilation there was among the engineering staff that have put their life into this project. You get that feeling from reading his blog comments.

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