Friday, June 27, 2008

Good news from out of this world

We need all the good news we can get. Actually it's from in this world. People developing science and technology.

Two recent unmanned space missions are just starting out and looking quite successful.

Soil sampling near the pole of Mars. They've found ice within reach of their digger gadget. The spacecraft works. Another one was lost near the pole of Mars in 1999. Being able to sample Martian ice and soil in vicinity of the lander is what they hoped for cause this lander doesn't drive like the now old Opportunity and Spirit Rovers that are still preforming on other parts of the planet. Ice and soil are both within reach of this lander. Looks good.

Now there's a new Gamma Ray Telescope in orbit. It's just being calibrated and soon to discover new things about black holes, dark matter and so forth. Working well. Gamma rays are the highest frequency of electromagnetic radiation we are aware of. New windows into our universe. In the early 1990s, we had the Compton Gamma Ray Explorer, but this one is much more sophisticated.

Some wonder why we ponder the cosmos when we are so busy with Earth's problems.

I'd rather do this than watch a football game or fight a war.

Many of these big astronomical projects are the result of international efforts, these days. Not so much USA patting itself on the back for a job well done. USA is still an important part of the picture, but many of these missions are the result of international collaboration at it's finest.

Someone I know feels we are really in trouble on this planet because global warming might be accelerating. Just wait till melting polar ice reveals trapped methane and releases it into the atmosphere. We're cooked.

My guess is, he wouldn't have much interest in Martian ice since we've got to worry about our ice.

I don't know if our global warming situation is that dire, but assuming it is, space science might be the only solution. If we're really going to fry in the next few years, we'll need to orbit a huge set of blinds between the Sun and Earth.

Levolor Blinds might be best, but I'm not working for the Levolor Blinds company. Maybe some other set of blinds would do.

Bicycling is still my form of transportation. An interest in discovery draws me to bicycling. Someone ask a friend of mine, "wouldn't biking through Eastern Montana be boring?" This friend said, "not boring to a geographer."

I've biked across Eastern Montana on a few trips. Discovered interesting flowers, thunderheads, soils, landforms, little cafes. I'll admit, Canadian CBC radio out of Regina was a help. Interesting talk. It seems like most people would just roll up their car window and shoot through an area like Eastern Montana as quickly as they can on the freeway.

An interest in discovery could help us get out of the day to day global warming rat race.

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