NASA announced recently that the land rover vehicles which landed on Mars Jan. 4, 2004, would celebrate their seven-year anniversary on Mars this past Tuesday. Both rovers planned to be on Mars for only 90 days, but one of the rovers, Opportunity, is still operating. The other, Spirit, got trapped in soft sand and stopped working in March 2010.
This announcement interested me because NASA's scientist have discovered lots of information about Mars based on these travels. They are now making all type observations about whether or not Mars could support life, once had water, etc. The interesting thing is both of these rovers travel only a small distance each day. In fact, they were designed to last three months and travel approximately six-tenths of a mile during this entire time. To date, Spirit has traveled 4.8 miles while Opportunity, being a real world traveler, has now covered 16.5 miles.
I recognize Mars is not as large as Earth, but it's still a doggone pretty large place. Scientist are now concluding facts about Mars based on approximately 20 miles of Martian territory out of millions of miles in existence. This got my tiny, warped brain to thinking. What if Martians had dropped rovers onto Earth and they traveled over about 20 miles of Earth territory. What conclusions would Martians reach about Earth?
Well, of course it depends on where the rovers landed. If they landed in the ocean, I'd assume they'd think there were only fish and water on Earth. If they landed in the Sahara Desert, they would decide Earth was quite hot with nothing much living there except for the occasional fool riding around on a camel without enough sense to move to some place where there was something alive.
But I really thought, what would a Martian think if the land rover had landed somewhere around Albany, Georgia and then over these last seven years crept along to Dawson. What type report would the Martians receive about life on Earth based on this 25-mile sojourn.
Well, I first suppose they would decide that whatever creatures live in this place called Earth, they do not have enough sense to wear a uniform which would allow them to properly walk, given the fact that half the population walks around with their pants around their knees. They would probably decide we are also rather large, odd creatures, waddling along as we grow fatter and fatter headed off to McDonalds for another double cheeseburger and fries.
Speaking of McDonalds, I assume they would determine this was our church as it appears large numbers of earthlings gather at these golden arches 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They would probably have no idea what the churches stood for, given that they are empty most of the week and not exactly bulging at the doors on Sunday. They would probably also note a significant personality change in earthlings each Friday night which coincides with a strange urge by the earthlings to enter neon signed buildings, stay for several hours and then exit with their equilibrium severely hampered.
God knows what they would think about the numerous '67 Impalas jacked up two feet high, traveling on wide-spaced chrome rims which make the vehicles look like an amphibious landing device set to land on Omaha Beach. They'd probably just go ahead and bomb Wal-Mart and maybe take the bridge arch home for scientific study. I doubt they'd want to come live here, after all, we still don't have an Olive Garden!
Contact columnist T. Gamble at email@example.com.