Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Waiting for Coffee on Mars

Now we know that briny brooks flow down the mountain-sides on Mars. The news came yesterday in a paper in Nature Geoscience (link). The immediate speculation turned to the possible presence of Life on the red planet—not presently, presumably, because the water is way to salty to allow that—but a ways back in time. Good stuff for the science fiction writer, myself one such, only we’ve already been there. We’ve done it by imagination—and quite old knowledge that Mars has water; the planet has an ice cap on its northern pole. The NASA team used satellite-based instruments to discover the flowing brine. What strikes me as interesting, here, is our strong faith in our own theories of how life begins and then develops. All one needs is water, some heat, minerals, and lots and lots of time. Given these minima, Life’s sure to begin. Now as for intelligence, that’s a little bit more difficult. But I am sure that science, in its dogged determination, will one of these days discover the presence of coffee on Mars. That’s when I’ll get excited—knowing, as I do, that without coffee in the morning, my own intelligence is almost non-existent.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Shadow Moon

The earth would throw its reddish shade
Over that Mayan heroine
“Blood Maid”—whom we call “Supermoon”
These days (a new term for Luna
At her perigees)—when streaky
Clouds began to spread dense veils leaving
Unwelcome snaky dark-grey trails.

Then came a call from Pat next door
To say that clouds had now at last
Begun to fray. The Supermoon
Was in the sky again. Its diamond
Shine had now begun to wane as
Pac Man Earth’s dark shadow took the
First bite it would now swallow.

We sat in a deep pool of black
Between the house, garage, and the
Dark green of grass, the gazebo’s
Shapely silhouette—marked by faint
Solar beads of lights—ahead and
On high a mirage—a gaining
Moon its dark parts faint maroon.

It took a while until real light
Had fled leaving behind a shade
Of glowing red. Here was “Blood Moon”
Named so, they say, by our prophets
Predicting the Last Days. We read
The message, agreeing with the
Sky, and hoped that Light would yet
Return, if only by-and-bye.