Critical Section


Monday,  06/02/03  07:24 AM

Three spacecraft launch toward Mars this month.  Excellent!

The media are constantly casting missions to Mars as "trying to discover life".  It would be cool if there is or was "life" on Mars - very exciting scientifically, and very unlikely, by the way - but there is so much more to learn.  Someday the Earth's resources will be exhausted, and if humans are still around we're going to have to colonize space.  Mars is the first best place to figure out what that will take.

Personally I think this type of mission is extremely important, much more so than any of the space shuttle missions.  (I suppose we did learn a lot from the space station.)  The knowledge / cost ratio of unmanned probes is several orders of magnitude higher than manned missions.

CNet: Computers replace petri dishes in biological labs.  Also microscopes :)

Echo's footNewScientist: Gecko tape will stick you to the ceiling.  It is really cool the way Geckos can climb glass.  What a terrific adaptation.

The always interesting Bruce Tognazzini gives a Quiz on Fitt's Law.  Anyone interested in user interface design should check this out.  (Actually anyone interested in UI design should bookmark AskTOG!)  Oh, by the way, "Fitts's Law: The time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target."

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