NASA in the Year of Sheep

According to Chinese lunar calendar, the Year of Sheep is coming to an end on January 21, 2004. This lunar year began on Saturday, February 1, 2003, the return date for a NASA space shuttle: Columbia.

This morning I happened upon a radio program on the Mars Rover landing. The JPL scientist was giddy with excitement. ¡°It is a series of miracles! Everything went so well!¡± she continued on commenting on all the high-resolution images that communicated all these never before seen details of the red planet. ¡°The landing site is very likely the remaining of what used to be a crater lake. We are hoping to find some signs of life, maybe not as developed as a KQED listener, but at least some primal form of living creatures¡­¡±

In addition to Spirit, there will be a twin Rover landing on January 24, 2004. Its name is Opportunity. As the robots continuing their adventure around the planet, there will be more and more information beamed back to earth. Us viewers will get to see more fantastic three-d imageries.

I can¡¯t wait.

That February Saturday morning when I woke up to the first day of the Chinese New Year, I remembered the sparkling sunshine danced on my windowsill. I remembered being happy and full of optimism for a new year. Then all was dashed by the disastrous news came out of my radio alarm, it was set on NPR. I started crying and silently protesting, ¡°No! No! What an unfortunate omen that is! Which kind of year is installed for us then?!¡± I¡¯m not really a superstitious person. But this coincident really unnerved me.

¡°It was barely daylight when the breakup occurred. On NPR they’re speculating that it was metal fatigue. The engines aren’t powered at this point in the flight. Seven people on board. First Israeli astronaut. Debris is being found all across north Texas. CNN has a series of photos showing the Shuttle breaking up. They were emailed to them from a man on the ground in Texas.¡± – via Scripting News 2/1/2003

Despite all that had happened in this world in this turmoil year, the NASA engineers finished this lunar year with a ban. Scientists¡¯ stubborn persistence and curiosity may seem naive comparing to politician rhetoric and ambition, but it made me giddy and gave me hope. In the spiritual space, in the world of nature and man, some balance has been achieved. That, is a good thing.

The Year of Monkey is going to start with a promise and wonderment, as Opportunity joins Spirit on that far-away planet.

NASA-JPL: Mars Exploration Rover Mission
NASA: Destination: Gusev Crater

3 thoughts on “NASA in the Year of Sheep

  1. Jean,
    This yr is the yr of sheep, and next yr, coming from Jan.22, the 1st day of Chinese lunar new yr, is the yr of MONKEY.

    Pls have a check.

  2. Sorry, u r right, u said the yr of sheep will end on Jan. 21.
    so careless i am..

    Jean’s Reply:
    heehee, ¹ÖÎÒ´ó´­Æø¡£Ò»¾ä»°·Ö³ÉÁ½°ë¶ù˵£¬ÈÃFZ׿±À²£¡:)
  3. The trip to Mars is so exciting…
    I follow the live news broadcasting that day. Really great when it comes that Spirit landed succesfully.
    And so nice the photos later.
    Imagine, we see what is on Mars now!

    Jean’s Reply:
    I know! Unbelieveable! Technology is such an amazing tool! I kept on imagining little ants trying to build a plane so it could go to another ant-hill to do some exploration. 🙂 Humans are such amazing and curious creatures! :)))

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