A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Mars On Tuesday
Tuesday, December 09, 2014



Curiosity rover on Mars - NASA

My generation will always look up at the sound of an airplane. One of my favourite spots where I don’t look up is when I hear the inimitable sound of a De Havilland Beaver’s Pratt & Whitney radial engine as it flies overhead while I am driving on the Lions Gate Bridge.

Some of my generation understand the mechanics of an airplane that makes flight possible as the distance from one end of the top of a wing (back to front) is greater than on the bottom. Since air has to get from one end to the other on top and bottom, lift is generated.

The present touch-screen generation can only understand the brute power of a rocket taking off from Cape Canaveral. The subtlety of flight and its wonder is lost.

Watching the moon landing on our TV set in Mexico City in July 1969 was a special thrill for Rosemary and me. And yet those touch-screeners after having seen Interstellar would pooh-pooh the special effects of that moon landing. There would not have been any shaking thunder sound effects.

We (not all of us) have almost lost our ability to wonder with our imagination as we wander into the distraction of instant, but mostly banal, communication.

Tuesdays are special with us. This is the day that our NY Times includes that special section Science Times. By sheer coincidence (?I am not sure) Tuesday in Spanish is martes (never capitalized in Spanish) and it plainly tells us about its origin to the planet Mars (Marte). In Spanish speaking countries a military field is sometimes called a Campo Marte.

The coincidence of martes, Marte, Mars is that most of today’s Science Times is about Mars. The photographs and the articles are superb as are the slide shows and videos if you explore the Science Times on line. I can any time as I pay a hefty sum for my daily delivered newspaper.

But most charming of all are little excerpts by famous people who may have said or written something about the red planet. These are found on the paper on narrow columns (up to down) on the edges. I will reproduce here the most charming:

Fran Lebovitz
Metropolitan Life 1978

Mars is the third smallest planet and therefore of interest only to collectors. It is bleak and rocky with no coastline to speak of – a feature that has made it one of the few beach areas within the financial grasp of this writer. Finding a taxi is next to impossible and visitors are advised not to. Natural resources run heavily to alien vapors and strange stones.

Shel Silverstein
“The Planet Mars”

On the planet of Mars

They have clothes just like

ours,

And they have the same

shoes and the same laces,

And they have the same

 charms and same

graces,

And they have the same

heads and same faces



But not in the

Very same

Places.


Matthew Rohrer
“There Is Absolutely Nothing Lonelier”

There is absolutely

nothing lonelier

that the little Mars rover

never shutting down,

digging up

rocks so far away from

Bond street

in a light rain. I wonder

if he makes little beeps? If

so

he is lonelier still. He fires

a laser

into the dust. He coughs. A

shiny

thing in the sand turns out

to be his.

This whole Tuesday Science Times in Mars is a plane overhead and the thrill has given me a joy that surpasses the little sun that came into my living room today.

In 1980 I was invited by a beautiful ecdysiast to watch the mini-series The Martian Chronicles (based on Ray Bradbury's novel). I must assert here that I did not rove and that I stuck to my designated mission of watching the series from a comfortable sofa  (for one). In short there were no alien encounters of a third kind.


 



     

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7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17

5/7/17 - 5/14/17

5/14/17 - 5/21/17

5/21/17 - 5/28/17