Re: Mars Assignment

From: (Charles F. Lindgren)
Subject: Re: Mars Assignment
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 1996 08:15:28 -0500

Dear Lori, et. al.

Don't look upon that article as a threat, treat it as a learning
experience! When Hyakutake was high in the sky two writers for my local
newspaper,  Boston Globe, wrote articles about it. One, Chet Raymo, a
philosopher scientist from Stonehill College wrote a beautiful tribute to
the comet. He told about going out to the college's observatory and finding
all of these enthusiastic students waiting to look through the eyepiece to
see the splendor of this visitor from outerspace who had last passed over
when North America was covered with Pleistocene ice. It brought tears to my
eyes! Yes, this is what the comet is all about! Chet you took the words
right out of my mouth! The other writer, David Barry, writes a syndicated
column that appears in the Globe's Sunday Supplement. Now I read Mr. Barry
over my second cup of coffee and often read sections aloud to the family.
He has my sense of humor. He also wrote about Hyakutake and I wanted to
cancel my subscription. He talked about how difficult it was to see, and
how he couldn't see what the big deal was, and why did they have funny
names like Hale-Bopp, etc. I WAS FURIOUS!!! How could he do this? Then as I
thought, and as my wife explained, I had heard those comments from the kids
I teach and the educated people I work with. She told me to grow up and
face reality!

I scanned the two articles into a word processing document and made a
lesson out of it. I shared it with my classes and we discussed the merits
of both. It was a great lesson. I suggest you do the same with this.  Lori,
et. al. be furious about articles like this, but realize that that is life.
We have one idea about these topics, but "Joe Six-Pack" has quite another.
I just lost the NASA channel to the Fishing Channel. The Sci.-Tech. section
of the Boston Globe is published on Monday when the person could almost
pass the paper under the crack at the bottom of my back door! I teach in an
affluent community where people are very consious of what's going on - not
one of my kids watches NOVA. Several say it's on and that their fathers
(never their mothers) watches it, but they wouldn't. It's our job to change
that, but also to accept that's out there.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

>Dear Holly and Lori,  Is this letter really worth losing sleep over?  ANyone
>who doesn't know what plate tectonics is, is obviously not going to listen
>to or understand how scientist analyze gases in meteorites.  I would just
>send him Rush Limbaugh's phone number and get on with your kids.  jkc
>On 11/25/96 20:02:18 you wrote:
>>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
>>to forward it to the list.  I think she is afraid to try again herself.
>>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
>>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
>>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
>>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
>>>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
>>of people already on this overcrowded sphere, we ordinary mortals really
>>aren't lonely?  Even if there is other intelligent life in our solar
>>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
>>>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
>>for man)
>>>and give us genuine cause for celebration in the Yuletide season by
>>>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
>>>> 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
>>>                          ***********************************