Occasionally I get emails from folks where the blog material consists of... well, a picture. You know the old adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words"? Well, today we have several pictures that add up to an entire thesis of several thousands of words and several pages, courtesy of P.T. (and thank you for bringing these to our attention!).
This is my way of saying I'm at a loss for words pondering the implications of these pictures, but I'll get back to that, because first, you've got to see the pictures. What am I babbling on about? NASA, it seems, has come up with a series of space travel posters, and needless to say, some of them are provocative:
In fact, I found some of these so thought provoking, I had to double check with NASA's official site, and yep, they're there:
At least NASA has a sense of humour, noting that "The Grand Tour" of the outer gas giants in the solar system is only possible once every 175 years; or that the grass on Kepler-186f is always redder on the other side, or that visiting the geysers on "beautiful Eceladus" would allow you to see "Cold Faithful". For that matter, take a trek to Kepler-16b and experience a planet with two suns, where your shadow, quips the poster, is never alone and always has company. Or check out the Cloud 9 Observatory on Venus, "voted the best place in the solar system to watch the Mercury transit."
But then come some truly strange posters where I have to wonder if NASA isn't doing a little more than just some tongue-in-cheek fun, but rather, admitting in a "fun" context what it would never admit in a "formal" one like a press conference. Consider the "Halcyon" poster, where we read "Why stay earthbound when prosperity awaits in the stars? Come to Halcyon, the only colony on the edge of the frontier that is owned by distinguished corporations." Or ponder the "Europa" poster with its "Discover life under the ice" and its stylized picture of a large (apparently giant) octopus or (look closer) some sort of structure in which humans can be see looking out of windows at the underwater beauty, a structure that only looks like a giant octopus. (And why an octopus? I wonder if it might have anything to do with that speculation out there that cephalopods might have been "seeded" on this planet. Anyway... back to the posters).
But the one that is the most humorous and, simultaneously, the most thought provoking is, of course, the one advertising Mars. At the bottom, this: "Mars: Multiple Tours Available: Robotic Pioneers/Arts and Culture/Architecture and Agriculture."
Arts? Culture? Architecture?
Ok... they're obviously imagining a future...
But then, at the top of the same poster, we read, "Visit the Historic Sites..." Ok... that's Never A Straight Answer for you; they're having their own little laugh, because none of those historic sites have been built yet... Right?
...uhm... Right? ....
.... nothing there, right?
Trick of light and shadow... right?.... Huh guys?
This is a joke... right guys?
.................. guys? Are you there..........?
(See you on the flip side...)