Around what the rover may reveal.
This odd editorial in the Christian Science Monitor (August 6, 2012) advises us to “Prepare for what Mars rover Curiosity and other ‘big science’ may reveal.”
Within weeks its three chemistry labs could possibly beam back the first evidence of extraterrestrial life – either as it may have existed in the past or as it currently survives under the Mars surface.
Such news would trigger a revolution in human perspectives not seen since Copernicus announced that Earth was not the center of the universe.
Why? For one thing, the most likely explanation will turn out to be that the life forms got there via ejecta from the early Earth. And didn’t last long, due to the inhospitable circumstances.
If we found the Ten Commandments chiselled in stone on Mars, yes, that would change a lot of people’s perspectives. It might be harder to remove a block of rock from a courthouse with the Ten Commandments chiselled on it thereafter, once pundits have started to describe it as a “natural artifact” or “found art.” Or whatever.
Or take a particle detector called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. It was delivered to the International Space Station last year with a mission to find the elusive “dark matter” that makes up about a quarter of the universe and may be tied to the equally puzzling substance known as antimatter.
But so what? These are house issues for physicists. Either physicists can make their equations work or they can’t. Life goes on for the rest of us anyway.
The real reason Copernicus replaced Ptolemy was that his calendar worked more simply.
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