On Mars

So, I’m starting to get interested in all this Mars stuff. There was a lecture type presentation the other night here in Perth at Trinity College which I would like to have gone to last night, but I was too tired. 10 days straight will do that to you. Anyhow, from the flyer for this lecture, I found a few web sites all about Mars. The ultimate focus of these web sites is manned exploration, but since that isn’t going to happen any time soon there is also a wealth of information about past, current and future robotic missions including the launching this week of the Mars Exploration Rover A or MER-A for short. It’s like a Sojourner on steroids.

There is a bit of a lunatic fringe in the Mars society which I plan to steer well clear of, but I would like to take a more active part in the Mars Society of Australia. Besides all the robotic missions they talk about, they have information on manned artic and desert expeditions which are supposed to simulate conditions on Mars in preparation for when men are launched. Sounds interesting.

I decided in the last 24 hours, since hearing of this lecture last night, that I am a closet Mars freak. I read a book a while ago called Patrick Moore on Mars, which is a bit of an historical look at the discovery of Mars including Schiaparelli, Lowell, the canals and all the rest of it. Very entertaining book. I guess when you look at it, Mars and the Moon are the only two really sensible places for manned exploration in our solar system. The moon, because it is so close, and Mars, because it is somewhat similar to our Earth and may be a bit hospitable. There has been a flurry of activity aimed at Mars recently including the Russians, the Americans, the Japanese and the Europeans. Someday, and international effort may launch a manned expedition to Mars. I’d like to see that, and I’d like to somehow be a part of it or at least keep close to it.