Party for One

On Monday, the Martian rover Spirit seemed to experience "amnesia", according to mission specialists. In essence, it didn't obey commands sent to it and didn't log anything it did (or didn't do) for the day. They suspect its memory module may have been hit by a cosmic ray.

I'd like to offer an alternative theory: Monday was the 1800th Martian day for Spirit to be on Mars. It's original mission was for 90 Sols (about 90 Martian says), so Monday was the 20th anniversary of that original mission - at least in Mars terms.

Maybe Spirit just decided to throw a little party, get drunk on some whizzing electrons, and had a hangover the next day.

Regardless, I'm tipping up my own drink to both the little guys running around out there: here's to amazement at human achievement (with or without the cosmic rays).


Rightful Place

The New York Times has an interesting essay on science and its fundamentals, brought about by President Obama's inauguration speech. The central theme:

It is no coincidence that these are the same qualities that make for
democracy and that they arose as a collective behavior about the same time that
parliamentary democracies were appearing. If there is anything democracy
requires and thrives on, it is the willingness to embrace debate and respect one
another and the freedom to shun received wisdom. Science and democracy have
always been twins.

Read it for yourself; registration is free. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/science/27essa.html?ref=science


28,000 mph

41,000 feet per second
Mach 36

How fast do *your* dreams fly?