Re: Mars Assignment

From: "H. Lloyd" <>
Subject: Re: Mars Assignment
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1996 20:02:18 -0800

Hi Everyone,

Lori Darter tried desperately to get this article out to everyone, but for
some reason it just wouldn't go.  Finally, she got it to me and has asked me
to forward it to the list.  I think she is afraid to try again herself.  Her
hope is that interested teachers/students would write to the author about
the importance of the Mars missions.  He seems to be missing the point.  

She would like to hear from as many as possible.  Please forward your
student's responses to <>.


>Rural Living Magazine
>November/December 1996
>Southside Electric Cooperative
>The Last Word
>By Douglas M. Deringer, Contributing Columnist
>Between a Rock and Outer Space
>Far Out!  In case you missed it, our space scientist are reviving the fad
of the pet rock.  Only theirs, they claim, is the most intelligent of all
pet rocks in that it tells us there once was life on Mars.
>Assuming this fires up you intergalactic enthusiasm, you also will be
thrilled to know that the Other World gurus, at their far-sighted best,
already have scheduled two unmanned flights to land on that frigid planet in
November and December.  The Russians, as usual, will be one-upping us in
November by placing two monitoring stations on the surface to dig at least
six feet down, creating a little more history and perhaps the first basement
on Mars.  
>Pardon the curmudgeonly question, but how do we know this rock, reportedly
about the size of your average potato, came from Mars at all?  This
so-called meteorites said to have fallen on Antarctica 13,000 years ago.
Did the ancient Antarcticans record its coming on their igloo walls or does
the rock have a "Made in Mars" label and 35,000,000 miles on its odometer?
And, after 13,000
years in the deep freeze, couldn't it just be an old potato?
>A Piece of the Rock
>To their credit, the discoverers are not being selfish with their rock.
They are willing to share with their peers in the scientific community.
Planetary scientists from a number of universities are planning to conduct
new tests to analyze the chemical and physical properties.  While one wishes
them well in these endeavors, it also would appear that, at best, they will
only get a small helping of the potato.  Oh, by the way, to show their high
regard for their
>rock, the discoverers gave it a name--Allen Hills 84001.
>But we digress.  The men and women in white coats enthuse over the
long-dead "worms" which inhabit their rock.  We aren't sure how the see
these microfossils, since they are many times smaller than the diameter of a
>hair, but one geochemist at the Johnson Space Center says use of an
ultrasensitive transmission electronic microscope brings scientist and rock
closer together.  A planetary geologist at Brown University thinks the new
>findings could do for Mars studies what the concept of plate tectonics
(whatever that is) has done for Earth geophysics and "will make us ask
questions we never thought of before."
>How about "So what?"
>As best we can determine, the truth-seekers are out to prove we are not
alone in the universe.  Has it ever occurred to them that, with the billions
of people already on this overcrowded sphere, we ordinary mortals really
aren't lonely?  Even if there is other intelligent life in our solar system,
we don't need Martian pen pals, intergalactic Amtrak, space aliens, or any
more language problems, at least not in the United States.
>My contrariness notwithstanding, the White House is excited enough to have
scheduled a November space summit for all those starry-eyed visionaries who
see a whole new world for us to take under our wing.  The space mavens from
Houston surely will be there to finance an accelerated program of Martian
exploration and development of better scientific equipment to analyze more
pet rocks.  The usual plethora of politicians with visions of little green
voters dancing in
>their heads who know a bandwagon when they see one undoubtedly will come to the
>summit with elaborate plans for foreign aid, trade agreements, a briefcase full
>of entitlements, four visits by Hazel O'Leary in search of new energy
sources, and immediate establishment of an Embassy on the Red Planet.
>Of E.T. and Saint Nick
>But, hey, this is the season for giving thanks and, shortly, the festive
occasion which is Christmas.  We can be grateful that, at least for now, we
haven't heard "The Martians are coming, the Martians are coming."  And
perhaps we might persuade NASA to really make our money work (one small step
for man)
>and give us genuine cause for celebration in the Yuletide season by putting
>aboard the upcoming mission to Mars instrumentation which would record for
posterity whether E.T. ever got home and the flight plan of jolly old Saint
Now that would be a giant step for mankind!
>According to H. Lloyd:
>> At 03:21 PM 11/21/96 EST, you wrote:
>> >Hello Holly,
>> >I hope you receive this message.  I have sent the Mars Article
>> >several times but for some reason it will not go through.  I
>> >will try again or I will send it to you by mail.
>> >Lori
>> Sorry to say, Lori,  but the article still has not come through.  How are
>> you trying?  I probably can't be of any help what-so-ever, but try me.
>> Holly
>                          ***********************************
>                                    Lori A. Darter
>                              J.J. Fray Elementary School
>                          ***********************************