Successful landing on Mars
Great news from the Red Planet: The Spirit has landed! As the NASA Web site proudly proclaims, "We're back!" It must have been a pretty tough year for those guys at NASA, after the Columbia disaster. (That was almost exactly eleven months ago.) Will President Bush declare a Kennedyesque goal of landing a man on Mars in the next decade when he makes his State of the Union Address? It's about time we set our sights to a higher plane. Perhaps we should first seek authorization from the United Nations, however... Speaking of space, I spotted the planet Mercury for the first time in my life as I was driving home from work on or about December 9. I had been reading about it in the Washington Post and sure enough there it was just above the horizon, a bit below and to the right of Venus, which returned to the evening skies last month. Mars itself is still visible, but it is much dimmer than it was back in November, since it is now in a waning crescent phase as it approaches the sun (from our terrestial perspective).