A Surprising Read

Learning of the road to Mars.

Learning also of questions leading to more questions.

How Valles Marineris, that huge scar across the planet, came to be is very interesting.

There are two things I would like to say about this book. One is the ease of read. Some scientific writers have a natural way to share, and Rod Pyle is one of them. I wasn’t looking to learn all the technology at once, for I’m not that smart. I was looking more for a book that could provide a good foundation of understanding and principles, together with scientific expectations and outlook, which later we could look up and research the more technical aspects ourselves. This way, slowly we can read, discuss, ponder, then read some more. With time, I might have a better understanding of the dynamics in such missions.

The road to another planet always has a beginning, and to a degree, Rod Pyle shares many of the nuances. I appreciated learning how the United States was competing against Russia, perhaps other countries as well, but also the types of equipment and probes we sent to the red planet. It’s amazing the progress we’ve made in a few short decades. And of course, different factors led to different decisions, and that was also eye-opening. From the 1960’s onward, sending this probe and that one, making better decisions at times, we were able to learn more in reality and dispell much of other considerations. Of course, I hope we continue investigating our solar system and beyond.

Mariner 4 taking pictures in orbit around the red planet. Picture taking was something always in the works, and later probes provided better film. For this craft, we’re only talking about less than one hundred pictures, for the scientists were more concerned with reliability than pushing the boundaries of technology. That came later as readers would learn.

Viking 1: From viewing in orbit to being on the planet. Consider the difficulty of landing on an unknown planet, the atmosphere far less than the Earth, and so calculations have to be made from previous probes passing. And all the trials.

While I think a manned mission to Mars is an excellent idea, I wonder how much we could learn with more advance probes and rovers in the mean time. After all, the more we learn along the way, the more our astronauts can focus on more advanced experiments. **While reading, I was pondering echos from hitting the ground with sonic machines and what that might reveal. Of course, on step at a time to know what we’re doing.

And all of this beginning while we were also travelling to the moon, including the Apollo missions.

I appreciated learning of the various people involved along the way. Seeing through their eyes is interesting to say the least. There are discussions about their outlooks and concerns.

                While I’ve always maintained there could be life on another planet, I’ve also shared that it could never happen spontaneously, which some readers have read our reasons.  If it’s not meant to be, Mars will have no life of any kind. However, I’ve also never believe that the reason for space exploration should be tied to the search for life. There’ so much more to discover and understand. I say, let’s not limit our reasons to explore to one idea.

[[This from the book, page 105. I think very important as it connects previous discussions we’ve had about the commonality of life on the Earth. Here goes: “I think that Mars exploration is quite important. If we are the only inhabited planet in the solar system, and there’s only one form of life on Earth–I mean, when you look at the composition of living creatures and see that they all have the same genetic system and they all operate on DNA and proteins composed of the same amino acids with the same genetic code… then we’re all related. The origin of life may have happened only once, and it happened here and no place else in the solar system. Or if it happened elsewhere, it didn’t survive. I think this is a conclusion of really cosmic importance. If people become aware of this, then maybe they’ll be less inclined to destroy the planet.”]]

**Now, I’ve made mention that I don’t believe we can ever destroy the Earth. Certainly nowhere close by traditional living. However, as I’ve been reading more on nuclear weapons, reading about effects through other readings that include, I must say I don’t have a full understanding of what would happen in an all-out nuclear war. I still don’t think we could end everything, but we could make many places horrible to live and survive. I say we don’t go down that road. And I think his point is sound. Without propaganda and global alarmists, for there is no man-made global anything, currently, not even close, but we certainly never want to result to nuclear warfare. As such, there needs to be more “comprehension” of such possibilities, but also, the understanding we’re not going anywhere. Earth is our home, in this life, and this is the only place we’ll ever live. But exploration has other purposes, and therefore, we might discover things, even as he has. **I will certainly need to do more research on the subject. I certainly will never be one to alarm without real information.

                I see exploration like this, from my little abode here on Earth:  to travel and discover, allowing the data and collections, the evidence, and more to “tell us” what is there.  While it’s okay to have wonderings, and some will have expectations, I prefer to let the information tell us the story of other places.  In this way, I’m open to whatever exists, not trying to frame it within my own construct of ideas.  For I have to wonder if my own construct of ideas might interfere with real learning, as it is.  Then, in this way, whatever we learn, we learn, and from that, learn more.  All the while appreciating the adventure.            

**I have always been very interested in both Jupiter and Neptune. Theories abound regarding how they became, but the journey has to be far more interesting in actual development. Perhaps, one day, should we send probes and satellites into other solar systems in our galaxy, we might see more of these type planets.

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