Outward bound… 26 May 2008Posted by marisacat in Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
Unfurled solar assay – Phoenix – Mars – NYT
[A]t 9:53 p.m., there were more cheers as confirmation came that one more critical event, the unfolding of the solar arrays, had occurred without problem. And then the first pictures arrived: black-and-white images of the solar panels, of one of the lander’s footpads and of surrounding terrain, showing the polygonal fractures caused by repeated expansion and contraction of the underground ice.
The next few days will be spent checking the condition of the spacecraft. Then it will begin the first up-close investigation of Mars’s northern polar region. Instruments on the spacecraft include a small oven that will heat the scooped-up dirt and ice to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Analyzing the vapors will provide information on the minerals, and that will, in turn, provide clues about whether the ice ever melted and whether this region was habitable. The mission is to last three months, with the possibility of a two-month extension.
“We see Phoenix as a stepping stone to future investigations of Mars,” Dr. Smith said. ::snip::
Madman posted this near the end of the last thread… and it fits in here…
I had a discussion with one guy at a Sunday night party about the prospects for hydrogen-powered cars. We rehearsed the usual reasons why such a system was unlikely to get up-and-running — and then he said, “…but what if we took all the money from the war and put it into something like the space program and… they came up with some way to make it happen…!”
This is certainly the golden heart of the great wish out there, as the empire of Happy Motoring begins to run down on $4 gasoline. It seems inconceivable that a society so bold as to put men on the moon (fer crissake) can’t overcome such a prosaic problem as finding something other than oil byproducts to run our cars on.
From this holy font all cognitive dissonance flows.
It seems inconceivable, but it begins to look like that’s the way it really is, and we just can’t accept it.
Of course, one of the reasons that Americans are so anxious to get away on a holiday weekend from the places where they live is because we did such a perfect job the past fifty years turning our home-places into utterly unrewarding, graceless nowheres, where the private realm of the beige houses is saturated in monotony, and the public realm has been reduced to the berm between the WalMart and the strip mall. Now, we barely have the gasoline to run all this stuff, let alone escape from it for a weekend.
This too from the last thread, languished in moderation… fits in here…
A showdown looms at the company’s annual shareholders meeting Wednesday in Dallas, Texas, with a series of proposals aimed at changing ExxonMobil’s corporate structure and pushing the company toward more environmentally friendly energy sources.
While activist shareholder resolutions are not uncommon, the move at ExxonMobil is unusual in that it has support from major institutional investors as well as the storied Rockefeller family, whose ancestor John D. Rockefeller created Standard Oil, the main forerunner of the current company.
Fred and Wilma get a little dabba do time in Brussels:
Six Greenpeace activists dressed as cavemen and travelling in a Flintstones-style vehicle were detained along with three others for public order offences, police said.
A stone tablet accusing car lobbyists of driving climate change was confiscated before it could be delivered to lawmakers, a Greenpeace spokeswoman said.
Photos of zero-emission vehicle and cave posse here.