Back from Curiosity which we elaborated in the previous page to more – much more – interesting details about Clouds which we just touched upon towards the end of the last page.
But hold on a sec – an interesting addendum to the topic of Curiosity of the previous page!
“Curiosity” is also the name of the USA – NASA launched Martian Rover / Explorer aka The Mars Science Laboratory launched on November 26, 2011 and landed successfully on target – on Mars – on August 6, 2012 UTC. It is larger and more advanced than the earlier Mars Exploration Rovers, with a movement rate of 90 m/h.
This “Curiosity” was deployed, not just to satisfy man’s curiosity about the Red Planet (more about it later), but to find and get more living space for the alarmingly fast burgeoning, nay exploding, world human population, estimated to number 7.032 billion as on October 31, 2011 with annual growth rate which peaked at 2.2% in 1963, and happily had declined to 1.1% by 2011. More mouths to feed and more refuse of the living and more carcasses of the dead to be disposed / dumped! So Martian Rover “Curiosity” project was driven not just by idle, fancy curiosity but by dire, urgent necessity of new colonisation in space. Every environment on Earth and elsewhere in space that contains liquid water also sustains life. After all necessity is the mother of invention.
I hear some rocket – fast real estate entrepreneurs have already started booking / selling plots on our Moon and Mars to avid buyers on earth!
Interestingly Mars, considered as Earth’s space cousin, the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System, named after the Roman god of war, is often described as the “Red Planet” as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the volcanoes, valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth. The rotational period and seasonal cycles of Mars are likewise similar to those of Earth, as is the tilt that produces the seasons. Mars is the site of Olympus Mons, the highest known mountain within the Solar System, and of Valles Marineris, one of the largest canyons. Mars, although now a cold and dry planet, had a warmer, watery, habitable past, and so much also, like our Earth and many other planets and their satellite moons, has Clouds – the subject of this page. Mars has high, thin clouds of water ice. Rivers have in the past coursed across the surface of Mars.
“Curiosity” landed on Martian Gale Crater, an ancient geological feature just south of the Martian equator, caused when a meteor slammed into Mars 3 billion years ago, having an enormous mountain in its center, dubbed Mt. Sharp in honor of noted Caltech geologist Robert Phillip Sharp; the mountain is three miles high; that’s taller than any mountain in the “lower 48” of the United States (albeit shorter than Mount Everest in Himalayas standing tall at 4.35 miles / 5280 ft and growing taller with years!) and taller than some portions of the rim of the crater that encircles the mound.
Martian Mt. Sharp’s slopes contain distinct layers — clay at the bottom, an apparent remnant of Mars’s watery past, a layer of sulfates on top of that, and layers of sand and dust toward the top. Similar to the way the walls of the Grand Canyon offer a layered view of the evolution of North America, space scientists believe Mt. Sharp’s slopes contain a preserved record of Mars’s past. “Curiosity” will climb the lower portion of the mountain to investigate the makeup of the layers of soil.”Curiosity” has started the era of a whole new dimension of space exploration. That dimension is one of “deep time.” Rather than getting a snapshot of one point in time on Mars, the mountain will allow “Curiosity” to build an understanding of hundreds of millions to even billions of years of Martian history.
“Curiosity” will search for the other building blocks of life, particularly carbon-carrying organic molecules, which may allow human colonisation of Mars!
Anyway, to avoid getting lost in distractions and diversions, however interesting and excitingly hot they may be, but stay on course, the main stream, let us leave Mars for another day and get on with the clouds, equally interesting!
Clouds in many forms – mist, fog, clouds, (ice, snow) and (the new) smog have been in the sky (from planetary / star / moon surfaces up through their atmospheres and interplanetary / interstellar / intergalactic space up until the outer limit of space (which is itself fast moving further and further out with the univers(es) fast expanding relentlessly and probably endlesssly) around spatial bodies including our earth (and many other planets and their satellites / moons and stars) ever since the Universe(s) formed (were created?) (with Big Bang?) probably about 13.7 billion years ago starting with subatomic nano particles through atoms -> molecules -> matter -> elements -> mixtures and compounds, molecular clouds of various sizes including gigantic ones etc., and broke up into myriads of asteroids, stars, quasars, clusters and syperclusters and their planetary systems (like our own solar system centered around our Sun estimated to have begun 4.568 billion years ago, currently having Luminosity (Lsol) 3.846×1026 W ~3.75×1028 lm ~98 lm/W efficacy and Temperatures – Center (modeled): ~1.57×107 K, Photosphere (effective): 5,778 K and Corona: ~5×106 K but has an expected further life of only ~ 1 quadrillion years (10 raised to 15 years) passing through stages of a red giant swallowing Mercury and possibly Venus and Earth (where will you and I be then / thence?) and then become a white dwarf, no longer producing energy but cools and dims continuously until it becomes a black dwarf with its luminosity falling below three trillionths its current level, while its temperature falls to 2239 K, making it invisible to human eyes (if at all humans were still to be there!) -> and finally our Sun cools to 5 K with the gravity of passing stars detaching planets from our Sun’s orbits and lastly our Solar System will ceases to exist! RIP! Whoever optimist said “It is never the end of the world!” will have to eat his words then, if he were to be there, then!
Sounds to..oo..oo..o GLO…OO…OO…OO…OMY, eh!
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” as in the clarion call to all citizens of the world by the world-famed Indian mystic, sage and spiritual master who declared publicly in 1954 that he was the Avatar (an incarnation of God) of the age, Meher Baba (1894-1969) (meaning “Compassionate Father”; though Meher Baba was silent for long years, silence not undertaken by him as a spiritual exercise but solely in connection with his “universal work”, his call, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” reached, via his cables to his western followers, millions all over the world by being quoted in numerous Baba posters and inspirational cards of the era. Ten-times Grammy Award winner Robert “Bobby” McFerrin, Jr.(Bobby McFerrin) said, “Whenever you see a poster of Meher Baba, it usually says ‘Don’t worry, be happy,’ which is a pretty neat philosophy in four words, I think.” Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 Grammy Award-winning song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” was inspired by the popular quote of Baba seen in “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” posters and cards. Originally released in conjunction with the film Cocktail in 1988 the song was included in the soundtrack of the movie but though somewhat popular because of the lyrics, the song got no award and originally peaked at No. 88 on the Billboard Hot 100, although another song “Kokomo” in the same movie won the BMI Film & TV Awards award for the Most Performed Song from a Film,1989 and was nominated for Golden Globes, USA Award and Grammy Award. Sadly enough, the movie Cocktail, 1988 won the infamous Razzie Awards for the Worst Picture 1989 and Worst Screenplay 1989! Its lead actor, Tom Cruise, was nominated for the infamous Razzie Award for the Worst Actor 1989 and its Director, Roger Donaldson, was nominated for the infamous Razzie Award for the Worst Director 1989! Undaunted, the wizard that Bobby McFerrin is, re-released the very same song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” the same year and it peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 24, 1988. The song also peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Tracks chart and No. 7 on the Billboard Hot Adult ontemporary Tracks chart. The song was also a hit in the United Kingdom and on the UK Singles Chart, the song reached number 2 during its fifth week on the chart. The hit song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, brought Bobby McFerrin widespread recognition across the world. However, the song’s success “ended McFerrin’s musical life as he had known it,” and he began to pursue other musical possibilities – on stage and in recording studios. The song was used in George H. W. Bush’s 1988 U.S. presidential election as Bush’s 1988 official presidential campaign song, without Bobby McFerrin’s permission or endorsement. In reaction, Bobby McFerrin, a Democrat, publicly protested that particular use of his song, including stating that he was going to vote against Bush, and completely dropped the song from his own performance repertoire, to make the point even clearer. McFerrin’s song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” was a No. 1 U.S. pop hit in 1988 and won at the 1989 Grammy Awards, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance honors. It is ranked No. 31 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” became the first cappella song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a position it held for two weeks. It also appears on Rolling Stone’s list of the 15 Best Whistling Songs of All Time.
Cheering up?! I can already hear some of you whistling / humming / singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” by Bobby McFerrin or Bob Morley.
To cheer you up more, here are two anecdotes from the life of Albert Einstein, the Genius, considered during his life time “father of modern physics” and the most influential physicist of the 20th century, second to only Sir.Isaac Newton, who has been “considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived.”. Newton remains influential to today’s scientists, as demonstrated by a 2005 survey of members of Britain’s Royal Society (formerly headed by Newton) asking who had the greater effect on the history of science, Newton or Einstein. Royal Society scientists deemed Newton to have made the greater overall contribution. In 1999, an opinion poll of 100 of today’s leading physicists voted Einstein the “greatest physicist ever;” with Newton the runner-up, while a parallel survey of rank-and-file physicists by the site PhysicsWeb gave the top spot to Newton.
Once when Einstein had finished a lecture on our Sun’s Chronology and our earth’s probable extinction in about 5 billion years, an elderly lady, visibly shaken, sauntered to him and asked him in a voice choked with anxiety, “Did you say that our earth will cease to exist in 5 million years?”; when Einstein said, “No Madam! I said 5 billion years!”, she heaved a sigh of relief and said, “Thank God! I had wrongly heard it as 5 million years and got worried for myself!”!
On another occasion. when Einstein was delivering a long lecture in English, a lady sitting in the first row kept looking at him pointedly, shook her head positively often (in appreciation / agreement), smiled now and then too and even clapped hands softly a few times. Einstein felt encouraged by and grateful to her and, after the lecture was over, went over to the lady and said, “Madam! Thank you very much for your kind attention and encouragement!”. She promptly replied in German,”Kein Englisch!” meaning “No English!” – it turned out that she did not understand English at all!
Cheer up – Read the optimist’s famous last words as, “Within our life-time, It is never the end of the world!”!
Here are the best examples of an optimist and a pessimist – At an airline Ticket Counter, the Optimist buys a return ticket while the Pessimist buys a Flight Insurance!
The difference between an optimist and a pessimist? An optimist laughs to forget, but a pessimist forgets to laugh, as defined by Thomas Edward “Tom” Bodett.
If you had the option to borrow from an optimist or pessimist, choose to borrow from the pessimist because he will, even from the word go, never have any hope of you returning the loan money to him!
“We’ll leave the light on for ya!” – as in the ending phrase of Tom Bodet in the popular commercials for the hotel chain Motel 6, and close this page, to come back another day with a new page, continuing with Clouds, of course!