Bob Parker with the American Physical Society had this posting in his weekly newsletter:
MARTIANS: THE PHOENIX MARS LANDER IS TO BE LAUNCHED TOMORROW.
How can it be that 30 years after the Viking landings on Mars we still don’t know if there is life on our nearest neighbor? What have we been doing? Life to which we are not related may be the most important quest in science. It would put in perspective the foolish philosophical musings about “purpose” that over the ages led to spilling the blood of countless millions – and still takes lives. Perhaps then we could get on with making the most of the wonderful cosmic accident of life on Earth.
But wait a sec!!! Mr. Parker, what if there is no life on Mars? What if we discover that earth is a lonely little planet in our solar system graced with liquid h20 and a healthy atmosphere just right for the existence of life? What do we say then? This is all an accident? Well there are some things you just gotta believe…
For the 3 astronauts in Apollo 8, orbiting the moon for the first time in history, that wasn’t good enough.