Kill Devil Hill, Mars

In spite of a cold (I hope its a cold) I record with the new blue Yeti

Mars was 62 million miles from Earth on the 19th of April. That morning a small helicopter rose nine feet and hovered for half a minute above Jezero Crater. The little flying machine looked out over a river delta, dry for a billion years. The helicopter was christened “ingenuity” by it’s creators. Custom made to be the first flying machine on the red planet it carried a token. A bit of fabric. A piece of Earth’s first powered flying machine. The snip of cloth was taken from the skin of the Wright flyer. That machine made history in 1903 at Kill Devil hill in North Carolina. The symbolism spanned 118 years as well as an interplanetary distance. Could Orville and Wilbur have imagined this? That a snip of canvas they’d stretched over a wooden frame would one day travel so far? I doubt it. People in that time, the dawn of the 20th century, believed men would never fly. That machines made by men would explore Mars was so fantastic an idea that it didn’t even feature in the Science Fiction of 1903. Going to the moon, shot from a cannon, was the limit of the wildest speculation then. What is there today that we consider to be impossible, even for our imagining? Is the first step in accomplishing the impossible taken with imagination? If so we are even now on our way to the stars. The Wrights found a way, thru dogged persistence, to lift man and machine into the air. Maybe in 118 years a bit of this little helicopter will hitch a ride on a faster than light probe to a nearby star. Things are “impossible” only after we imagine them. Before that they’re unknown. It seems declaring something impossible is the first step toward accomplishment.

Published by glensketch

Retired from electronics industry. Ex USN ex USAF ex expat in Ecuador.

2 thoughts on “Kill Devil Hill, Mars

  1. I find myself wondering if in my lifetime, we will be able to enter fully immersible alternate, digital realities, just like in the Matrix. I also wonder if we’ll be able to transfer human brains to robot bodies. Boston Dynamics is making robot that can dance, and do back flips. AI is making art, and beat the world’s best chess and “go” players. Meanwhile the whole planet has been crippled by a tiny virus we all knew the risk of. Science builds on itself and gets smarter and smarter, but the human is always tethered to the starting gate of ignorance and stupidity, and only has one lifetime to figure out how to live.


  2. Wayne – Yes, I do believe if we can imagine it, it can become real. Imagination is key. Imagination is engineering without the details. Einstein imagined, he then found mathematicians to work out the numbers. Genius isn’t number crunching, its visualizing, joining unconnected dots. I’d take the red pill and the woman in the red dress every time. In our lifetime? in degree we will see some of it. Have you read “The Cloud Atlas”? You might like the author’s look into one possible future. I am re-reading it now.


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