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We are on Mars, and nobody seems to care... - Elf M. Sternberg
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We are on Mars, and nobody seems to care...
I'm watching on NASA TV thanks to streaming video (and a rather obscure but nicely powered Helix server) and I'm just blown away. I'm a bit frustrated; every picture from Pathfinder went straight to the 'net raw back in 1997. I remember playing with the raws as they came down, loading them into Photoshop and enjoying pulling out the details, following the recipes that JPL published. I want those pictures those guys are seeing on the big board, not just the picture-of-a-picture from the JPL cameras in the room. And I want them now. And I want Justin Ray to tell me where to find them! Or JPL. Somebody! I'm totally thrilled by this.

And the fact that everything is going so well, that 12 minutes of 32kbs data came down, with great photos and all the telemetry of the landing, is just too much. NASA needs this kind of good stuff.

I went downstairs to watch the news, and it came and went. For a few minutes, CNN and FOX had the "first pictures from Mars" on, and then they turned to other things. Isn't this the most thrilling thing on the news right now? Who gives a fuck that Sex and the City is going off the air? Isn't that news for another day, really? Isn't it just TOO COOL that we've made it to Mars, and it worked, and a big functional robot is about to wander around?

I guess not. And the bimbo from FOX... what is she on, anyway? "Well, we're not scientists so we don't see in this pictures what the NASA people can see." They're not cheering at anything you can't figure out with the grey matter you supposedly have between your brain! "Look, the colors are right!" "Look, the camera is pointed the right way!" "Look, it's freaking Mars!"

My cynicism might be a little strong but that feels like a FOX party line. I can just see the set-up for a few months from now: "Your taxpayer money bought these geeks their thrills, but what do lay people get out of it?"

Anyway, I'm going to go look at the little red planet and enjoy our success.

Current Mood: gleeful
Current Music: NASA TV!

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Comments
yohannon From: yohannon Date: January 4th, 2004 09:21 am (UTC) (Link)

Pay No Attention To That Possible Frontier...

It makes sense on a lot of levels why some conservative media outlets would tend to try and dampen enthusiasm for things like space exploration -- after all, can you recall ANY frontier that wasn't ultimately disruptive to the status quo? Thanks to a lot of socio-political manipulation here on earth, literally any potential for establishing such a frontier in a terran context is kaput.

But space... that's got "future revolution" written all over it. Even a lot of the work needed to get there causes major shifts in technological advancements that can leave old and slow behemoths gasping for breath as they're left behind by younger, more open minded entrepeneurs. It's those "youngsters" who have the potential to make billions, money used to support more of those outlandish adventures, which in turn...

But you get the idea.

I suspect the same people will be crying out for strict government control of civilian space flight once the X-Prize begins to bear fruit, even as such advances reduce thevery costs they complain about.

~Yohannon~
dominic_m_ From: dominic_m_ Date: January 4th, 2004 10:47 am (UTC) (Link)

MARS!

WOW im just as thrilled as every other geek out there.I still cant believe it!MARS!i know its only a little robot.but thats just for now.imagine.this is the next leap we needed so friggen badly.and also with the succesful completion of nasa,s ion drive tests space faring ways look like they can take of within the next century.i cant believe this is happening.its a shame they only showed tidbits on the news like it was any other piece of trash story out there but this is HUGE!.imagine if mars has signs of past life on it.soo much at once,brain is overloaded.WEEEEEEEEEE.i hope the republican elite like bush start saying space is not for us and attemt to oerthrow nasa control over its adventures.Im still dreaming of the day that space travel becomes public.oooohhh my brain is swimming in endorphins right now.i hope it goes as expected or moreso. GO NASA!
dominic_m_ From: dominic_m_ Date: January 4th, 2004 10:49 am (UTC) (Link)

correction

i mean i hope the republican elite "DONT".....yadda yadda yadda.excuse this minor error in my moments of glee.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 4th, 2004 10:50 am (UTC) (Link)

Mars vs. our own backyards... a loosing battle

It's much like the Apollo project decades ago... the first landing on the moon was big news, the second was crowded out of the news by politics, and the rest of it totally failed to interest the general public. At best there was a side note in the papers like oh yeah, and NASA's spent another few billion to get two more guys on the moon, they'll be back in a few days" and that was it.
Face it: the Great Unwashed don't care about science, exploration or the advance of human development. Anything happening in their own back yards is much more important.

People are so dumb sometimes.
dominic_m_ From: dominic_m_ Date: January 4th, 2004 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

true to an extent...

thats quite true but when we actually manage to get a person to mars alive space travel is going to be the "it" thing going on for the moment.then i imagine another chill down period till some other leap in space travel appears such as larger ships or even a minor fleet and the like.maybe even permanent space craft.ccant wait till the first real spaceship is built.after that its just a matter of time till we have a fleet and everyone is signing up and space travel is affecting everyones lives.your right that space travel doesent affect many at all right now and thats such a shame.but it will come to a head eventually and force its way into our self enclosed lives.but till then i hope nothing bad occurs to hinder our progress.man i cant wait to see what the first "real" spaceship from earth looks like....probably boxy or something with ugly colors....i hope not.hahaha.
secanth From: secanth Date: January 4th, 2004 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, *some* of us care. (smile) Let us hope Spirit and her partner (set to touch down, I believe, the 24th) have all the luck of little Sojourner...
chgowiz From: chgowiz Date: January 4th, 2004 04:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

Here are the raw images

http://marsrovers.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit.html

Looks like they have the first 30 odd nav cam pictures on the site. I haven't started playing with them yet.

It's a wonderful day on Mars!
omahas From: omahas Date: January 4th, 2004 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
And the bimbo from FOX...

Why on *earth* were you listening to FOX?? I mean, FOX is not journalism. It hasn't been for a long time. How could you expect anything from this "news" source other than "we're spending tons of money on worthless space projects...oh, btw, here's another conservative pundit we're hiring." Jeez, I stopped listening to them ages ago.
dominic_m_ From: dominic_m_ Date: January 4th, 2004 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

cable-less

i wish i had cable so i could watch any other channel but fox.i have fox and a few locals but not many.fox keeps the shows coming and thats the only reason i pay any attention.but in no way do i watch their terribly slanted news.the only thing that annoys me more than their usual dribble i the guy(forgot his name) that does his own editorial section and closes with "thats my point" and some crappy write in polls and an e-mail or two that either pushes his point or makes the opposite side look moronic.
kyriani From: kyriani Date: January 4th, 2004 11:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been following all 3 (well 4 if you count both rovers from the US) Mars projects over the last two months. I was really sad to see Japan's Hope probe get cancelled because of problems, and then the Brit's Beagle2 probe failing to contact any satelits in the area... Was really depressing. I'm very glad that NASA's probe made it successfully, we really need something like this to bolster our space program. The local news here actually had a full 30 minutes detailing the process NASA went through to get the Spirit and Opportunity into space which made me happy to see. I am so jaded with the news industry in general lately that I get frustrated just thinking about it. Heres to hoping this makes bigger waves.
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