When our great-grandkids living on Mars go out stargazing, this is what they might see as they wait for the Sun to go down and the stars to start popping out. I’ve always wondered what it will be like for the first Mars residents to haul out a telescope and check out the stars and galaxies and planets. You know how we always tell everybody to dress warm here on Earth, even in the summer? Well, Martian stargazers won’t have a choice. It’ll be “dress warm, wear a pressure suit, and bring along plenty of oxygen.” Or, maybe it’ll be “remote” observing, with the telescope set up outside and the observer seated at the computer, safe and warm indoors. Not a whole lot different from what some observers here on Earth do!
The other day I was sitting here in front of my computer, flicking idly through the Mars pictures, and I saw a pretty neat one that I thought Mark would enjoy. So, I flicked on the intercom and said to him, “Hey, dear! Have you looked at Mars today?” And then it suddenly struck me just how wonderful and rare that was to say. I can log in to the MER site every day and look at the surface of a planet more than 55 million kilometers away. Most of the time it looks perfectly normal and familiar: rocks, dust, sky, Sun. Except there are a few differences: it’s mostly red, there aren’t any life forms, and there are those pesky little spheres that seem to be scattered all over Opportunity’s landing site. Mysteries among the more familiar-type views of things we recognize.
So, go marvel at Mars. Check out the rocks. Mentally sift through the sand in those dunes. Imagine what it would be like to walk across those dried-up surfaces. And watch the sunset. We’re living in a rare time!