Mars scientists naming every pebble in sight
on 2/12/2004 (4)
Since successfully landing two rovers on Mars, NASA scientists have given pet names to every drab red rock and pebble in sight.
|3 square feet of Martian real estate: More names than a Long Island phone book. |
In the 4 weeks since their arrival, NASA has made it a pet practice to name a variety of objects and features with a seemingly inexhaustible hodge-podge of off-the-wall names.
When Spirit isn't busy taking 238 (*NEW*) photos of its own foot, it focuses its attention on a piece of real estate about the same size as a Tennessee trailer park front lawn.
A tiny rock, 6 inches across, becomes "Adirondack", a sand ripple a foot wide "Outpost Charlie", and a nearly invisible rocky outcropping "Opportunity ledge", with its now famous 4 inch high jumble of Hematite called "Stone Mountain".
Rover team member Jim Rice bashfully concurrs.
"Yeah, yeah...we're gettin' kinda silly. We've traveled a total of about, what? 6 feet?...and we've given about 200 names to everything in sight. I'm not sure what we'll do a month from now, when the rovers really start roving.
I'm guessing we'll exhaust the entire dictionary by then!"
When asked if NASA should streamline the naming of Martian features with alpha-numeric abbreviations, such as M-1, M-2, and so on, Rice hesitated:
"Err..lets get real. We're talking about trying to make an 840 million dollar mission exciting to the taxpayer, and it ain't easy livening up a drab red rocky paprika colored planet with no variations outside of a few craters and hills. I think we'll stick to the method we've been using."
A return to the even more drab Moon promises to further push Websters where no editor has gone before..one0" style="display:none">
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