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Archive: March 3, 2004

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Opportunity rocks

Wednesday,  03/03/04  06:42 AM

Yeah, I'm back.  Unbelievably, except for a brief post a month ago to say I was alive, I have now not posted for six weeks.  But I'm back...

So the big big news, in an otherwise big news day, was yesterday's announcement by NASA engineers that Opportunity has found "strong evidence" that Meridiani Planum was wet.  And not just damp; "Liquid water once flowed through these rocks.  It changed their texture, and it changed their chemistry."  To me this is not surprising, but it is amazing, on several levels.

Opportunity rocksFirst, if we go on to discover that Mars held (or indeed holds!) life, this will be seen as the first harbinger.  That would be amazing.  Unbelievably amazing, actually.  But even if we don't discover such evidence, what's amazing also is our ability to detect and interpret this evidence.  The Earth is roughly 5 billion years old.  Homo Sapiens are roughly 150,000 years old, a mere blip.  But only in the last twenty years or so have we had the technology to send robots to another planet which can probe for this kind of information, and transmit it back.  That's amazing.  And the geological knowledge that enables scientists to interpret this information, with confidence, is amazing as well. 

What a great time to be alive!


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Try, or Try Not
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In the Wet
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visiting Titan
unintelligent design
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estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
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Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
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Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
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Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
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world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained