A beautiful picture from Mars

What do you think: is this the most beautiful picture you have ever seen?


Well, why don’t you go see what Phil Plait, the coolest and most engaging science blogger I’ve come across, has to say about the deceptively simple image:

Here are a couple of links to another blog that talks about this awe-inducing image (including a picture that tells even more).

I simply can’t compete with Phil’s description, so I’ll leave you with his words:

Think on this, and think on it carefully: you are seeing a manmade object falling gracefully and with intent to the surface of an alien world, as seen by another manmade object already circling that world, both of them acting robotically, and both of them hundreds of million of kilometers away.

Never, ever forget: we did this. This is what we can do.

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4 Responses to “A beautiful picture from Mars”

  1. Ken Brown Says:

    I gotta love his enthusiasm! He reminds me of the scientists Bill Bryson highlights in A Short History of Nearly Everything, who can happily spend their whole lives studying the most “insignificant” things – the reproduction of fungi or the life-cycle of sea-slugs – and will excitedly debate and describe their work to any willing listener. Exploring the awe and mystery of the seemingly mundane… I can see why Phil likes that picture.Human drive and engenuity truly is an amazing thing, as is this universe we inhabit (but of course, all this is but a lucky cosmic accident, right? 😉 Sorry, just messing with you!)

  2. Sphagnum Says:

    Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait has produced here a wonderful Thought for the World, don’t you think?

  3. Timothy Mills Says:

    He sure has. For those unfamiliar with them, check out the Thought for the World podcasts produced by the Humanist Society of Scotland.Just in case anyone tries to tell me that skeptics are buzzkills, I’m going to keep this clip handy.Like Dale McGowan says, we need to teach our kids (and ourselves) to yawn at counterfeit wonder. There’s plenty of legitimate wonder out there.

  4. Ken Brown Says:

    McGowen’s article is excellent and I’m sorry to say, an accurate description of too many Christians’ lack of curiosity (which is particularly egregious when the same people imply that only they hold The Truth). In my own case, there have only been a few times that I’ve truly been overwhelmed with that kind of wonder, and they have been about equally divided between periods of prayer, and those very sorts of scientific realizations that McGowen describes. For instance, I keenly remember reading Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe and suddenly being overcome with the thought that all we see and know could be composed of nothing more than “strings” that vibrate to produce such a vast array of wonders – from the stars to a human child – like some sort of cosmic symphony played across a trillion galaxies. But where my experience differed from McGowen’s lay in what was for me the next step, the realization that my old view of God as some kind of cosmic mechanic or absentee landlord was so much less than reality. As astounding as I found String Theory (even if only as an unproven possibility), the thought that God’s relation to the universe may be more like a musician, lovingly creating and conducting that symphony, that was what brought me to tears.

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