Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Imagine There's No Heaven, but There is Life on Mars


The original Face on Mars image, from the Viking 1 orbiter in 1976 - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)

Imagine There's No Heaven, but There is Life on Mars

In December 2007, I wrote about a transit of Mars that brought the red planet close to Earth. Also in that article, I discussed the “Face on Mars” (FOM), first photographed by NASA’s Viking 1 orbiter in 1976.

Since its discovery on low-resolution images from the Viking 1 orbiter, scientists have argued that the FOM is a natural phenomenon. The FOM, they said, was an eroded mesa viewed in oblique sunlight. In 2001 and again in 2003 new orbiters focused high-resolution cameras on that supposed eroded mesa. Again, scientists concluded that the FOM was a figment of hopeful human imagination. Imagine that.

On August 6, 2012, I watched the Olympic women’s gymnastics apparatus finals on NBC. At 10:30 PM PDT, I switched over to watch NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover stick its landing on the surface of Mars. Flipping channels back to gymnastics, I watched as an American woman missed her landing. Although I cannot say which act was more difficult, the Mars landing is more portentous, as it may lead to discovery of life on Mars.

John Lennon live, singing his song, "Imagine" - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)On one hand, NASA and other scientists had steadfastly denied any life-connection to the FOM. On the other hand, the same scientists were optimistic that instruments on the Curiosity rover would discover precursors to life on Mars. It reminded me of the 2012 supposed discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN in Switzerland. At that announcement, three hundred mostly agnostic or atheist scientists wept over the supposed discovery of “the God particle”. Suffice to say that scientists are an unreliable source of information on where life came from or even what it is.

Hoping to see a review of the best current and historical English pop music, I tuned in to the London Olympics Closing Ceremony. Although the presentation was a bit erratic, it was full of energy and everyone was having fun. Only later did I discover that a preview of some idiotic NBC sitcom had preempted a live performance by the Who and others. I wonder which brilliant NBC executive made that decision.

John Lennon, the new Face on Mars revealed at the 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)For me, the highlight of the London Olympics Closing Ceremony was alive performance by John Lennon. Dead since December 8, 1980, I was shocked to see him singing again, live and in person. As his song played, actors on the Olympic stage began pushing large white blocks all about. Shaped like puzzle pieces, I could not imagine what the blocks might symbolize.

Then, an aerial shot revealed what I had suspected all along. The actors in Olympic Stadium had replicated the famous Face on Mars. That face, of course, was of John Lennon. Presaging his death by almost four years, John Lennon had concocted to place his face on Mars. As John Lennon so aptly sang, “Imagine there’s no heaven, it's easy if you try, no people below us, above us only sky”. Now, almost twenty-two years after his death we see that he has been up there all along.
 And remember, all you need is love.