The hottest action hero of 2004 is 4 feet tall, looks like a golf cart and stars in a feel-good Mars mania blockbuster that is gripping the nation. The arrival of NASA’s Spirit rover on the surface of Mars Saturday night has thrown into sharp relief public and scientific fascination with this planetary neighbor. The rover’s every move has been leading nightly newscasts. From 3:01 a.m. ET Saturday to 9 a.m. ET Thursday, the NASA Web site received 1.45 billion hits. NASA officials believe this will be the biggest online event ever for the U.S. government.
Quoting unidentified Bush administration sources, two publications have reported that the president wants Americans to return to the moon after an absence of three decades, and perhaps establish a base. The reports put the moon, which in recent years has been ignored by all save baying dogs and werewolves, back on the national agenda.
Draped in secrecy, technicians at a distant launch pad are readying an 8-ton spacecraft that could soon turn an anonymous Chinese fighter pilot into an instant hero for one-fifth of humanity. China may be just a few weeks from becoming the third nation to send a man into space, marking another step toward becoming one of the world’s top powers.
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst have developed a battery that uses iron-breathing bacteria to eat the sugars in carbohydrates and turn them into electricity.
The bad news around this Gateway to the Universe this week is the hit NASA took in the Columbia report for its “broken safety culture.” The good news is millions of Mars-gazers displayed a renewed feeling of awe about the universe. They watched nightly as that planet passed closer to Earth than it has in 60,000 years, only about 34.6 million miles away.
NASA on Thursday released what it billed as the first portrait of Earth as seen from Mars. The colorized photograph shows Earth from 86 million miles away as a small blue dot orbited by its even smaller moon. The keen-eyed can make out clouds over the central and eastern United States and northern South America, as well as portions of Central America and the Gulf of Mexico, in a specially processed blowup of the image. NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft took the picture while orbiting the Red Planet on May 8.
If you enjoy science fiction, then you know that the thought of colonizing the moon makes for some incredibly imaginative stories. But there is a good possibility that lunar cities will become a reality during the 21st century! Colonizing Mars is another option as well.