Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy #MarsDay, some thoughts on Ray Bradbury and pictures from @AirandSpace

Mars @ NASMHappy Mars Day! Here are some pictures I took at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum the other day. Top photo is a mock-up of the Viking Lander (which when to Mars back in the 1970s). Below is an idea (date unknown) for what a Mars spacesuit might look like.

And, how can I not include a quote or two from Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles. An amazing book (short story collection? Anthology? Prophecy?). A work, like all of the best of science fiction, tells us more about our own selves and our own times then about the future or other places.

There was always a minority afraid of something, and a great majority afraid of the dark, afraid of the future, afraid of the past, afraid of the present, afraid of themselves and shadows of themselves. ("Usher II")
I'm burning away a way of life, just like that way of life is being burned clean of Earth right now. Forgive me if I talk like a politician. I am, after all, a former state governor, and I was honest and they hated me for it. Life on Earth never settled down to doing anything very good. Science ran too far ahead of us too quickly, and the people got lost in the mechanical wilderness, like children making over pretty things, gadgets, helicopters, rockets; emphasizing the wrong items, emphasizing machines instead of how to run the machines. Wars got bigger and bigger and finally killed Earth. That's what the silent radio means. That's what we ran away from. ("The Million-Year Picnic") 
"Who wants to see the Future, who ever does? A man can face the Past, but to think - the pillars crumbled, you say? And the sea empty, and the canals dry, and the maidens dead, and the flowers withered?" The Martian was silent, but then he looked ahead. "But there they are. I see them. Isn't that enough for me? They wait for me now, no matter what you say." ("Night Meeting") 
It also includes the Sara Teasdale poem, "There Will Come Soft Rains", my first contact with that work.

Mars @ NASM

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