Thursday, February 13, 2014

More Good "Bad Astronomy"...and Ultrarunning

Another gem from Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy, here, in talking about the Mars Curiosity mission:

[don't feel bad, I can't make out the unmagified Earth either]

Plait says, in some memorable prose:

The Universe is terribly vast, hugely distant, cold and indifferent to us.
But remember this: The picture above was taken by a machine made by humans, and it’s sitting on the surface of another world. It took hundreds of people thousands of worker-years to imagine it, lobby for it, create it, loft it, and land it on Mars. You can’t see that in the picture because the camera was turned the other way. But if you can step out of the picture in your mind and simply turn around, you’d see that rover on the Martian dust, a testament to human curiosity, the drive to explore, and the need to leave the nest for parts unknown.
It doesn’t bother me in the least that the Universe doesn’t know or care about me. I know and care about it. And that’s what counts.

That's why we still need a viable space program.  And in a parallel way, the thoughts expressed here kinda touch upon the why of Ultrarunning--the lure of the unknown, the uncovering of the hidden, the feeling that only you and a select few other hardy souls have invested the effort of psyche and body to reach the edge and find out what you are made of.

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