Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Whole World Is Watching

See that little white blob in the picture there? That's one of the coolest things this area has ever been involved with.

What you're looking at is a picture taken from Mars orbit of the Phoenix Lander arriving on the red planet. That bright point is the lander itself, and if you look closely you can see the shroud lines leading up to the parachute that's helping it bleed off velocity on it's way to the ground. You can see an entire gallery of amazing photographs like that at the Phoenix Mars Mission official site.

Over the next several days the entire world is going to be watching that probe as it gets ready to carry out it's primary mission- using a robotic arm to dig into the martian surface and grab samples of soil and, hopefully, ice. The scoop that will be doing the digging, and the focus of the world's attention, was manufactured right here in Frankfort by the CTM Corporation. It's amazing that a local company is part of such an incredible mission, and even more impressive that it will be helping to answer questions about the possibility of life on Mars.

Congratulations to everyone at CTM. And who knows...maybe, just maybe, that scoop will be the point of first contact between humanity and an extraterrestrial lifeform. Even a speck of lichen under that dirt, as improbable as it might be, would profoundly change our place in the universe.