Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I love NASA when it takes pictures of the neighbors.

It's time to go take picture of Mercury again, the planet closest to the sun. Humans have only sent a camera to Mercury once, in 1974. We're due,

Doing the camera bit is so much cheaper than so many things. Cheaper than going to war on our local planet under our feet. Cheaper than recreating the soggy warm air environment we human primates can live in

Camera/computers are happy without the soggy air. They send back data to be easily transformed into pictures for happy scientists at, for example, the Jet Propulsion Lab, JPL, which is close to where I live. When JPL folk take a break and walk outside their work building into the clement climate of Northern California, this is a very cheap experience. Doesn't cost the tax payers anything, unlike the outside the workspace experience of spacecraft that have to be built to keep humans alive, who also have to have clothes that can keep them alive.

It is so much cheaper to leave the humans in Northern California to cheer the pictures and think about them than to expend huge cleverness on keeping them alive where it's hard to keep them alive.

We the people keep sending cameras to Mars, to land, to fly by. We've sent camera's to Mars to take pictures lots more than once. Mars is the next planet over. Mars is a place people have dreamed of there being other kinds of life.

Mars is named after the god of war.

Mercury is named after the messenger of the gods.

We know how to go to war. I think we're missing some other kinds of messages, and it's time to visit Mercury again.

--information about the Mercury mission from the book "Universe: The Solar System" by Roger A. Freedman and William Kaufman III [and NASA--all those photos]