Craters Show Viking Lander Missed Martian Ice by Inches

To quote a famous 1960’s icon “Missed it by that much

My friends and colleagues are aware that I’m a rocket scientist by training. The space program died just as I was about to graduate from college. Remember Viking , Skylab, and then the Draconian response to Challenger. There was no fire or passion or vision left in that field so I my career went along another path that was filled with fire and passion–winning the Cold War.  For those that have forgotten what that is or too young to know, go to Wikipedia.


In reading this article, I wonder what the effect would have been on the program and subsequently my life’s path.  Funny to ponder what a difference 3.5 inches can make. The Butterfly Effect.


Craters Show 1970s Viking Lander Missed Martian Ice by Inches

By Alexis Madrigal | September 24, 2009 | 3:38 pm |

“Meteorites that crashed into the Martian surface last year exposed buried ice to the digital eyes of NASA spacecraft.

Scientists have used those images to deduce that there is a lot more ice on Mars — and that it’s closer to the equator — than previously thought. In fact, subterranean Martian ice should extend all the way down beyond 48 degrees of latitude, according to the model, which was published in Science Thursday.

That happens to be where the Viking Lander 2 was in operation from 1976 to 1980. As part of its science program, the Lander dug a trench about 6 inches deep. The new model predicts that if it had gone an extra 3.5 inches — a bit longer than a credit card — it would have hit ice.

It’s difficult to project backwards…”

via Craters Show 1970s Viking Lander Missed Martian Ice by Inches | Wired Science |


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