26 May 2008
I'll never get to Mars...
...but such is the state of technology now that a spacecraft can land there yesterday, and tonight I can sit at the desk in my basement and watch a movie of what the view is from the spacecraft.
HERE is the movie.
To be brutally honest about it, it's not all that exciting. The "movie" is more precisely a slow pan across a still image from proximal to the lander to the distant horizon. The colors are approximate, based on color filters, and muted to extreme blandness. And the view is...well... prosaic. The NASA website describes it thusly: "The flat landscape is strewn with tiny pebbles and shows polygonal cracking, a pattern seen widely in Martian high latitudes and also observed in permafrost terrains on Earth. The polygonal cracking is believed to have resulted from seasonal freezing and thawing of surface ice."
But still, to sit in my own room and look at near-live pictures from Mars is something I would have dreamed about when reading Ray Bradbury stories as a child...