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Updated: 02/26/03

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Wednesday, 26 February, 2003

Well, THAT was no fun. Have to say, it was one of the worst bouts of flu I can remember having. The internal workings are still grumbling somewhat.

Isn't it appropos that the term used to describe an episode of the flu is called a "bout." The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as, "a contest between antagonists," and I would say that was pretty much it.

[The flu won.]

I have new respect and adoration for Fresca. Never really liked it at all before, but once the Tummy Demons decided to allow me to drink something, I found a can of it in the fridge, left by my cousins Jeff and Lucia when they visited last fall. It was nectar of the gods as far as I was concerned.

[There is now a 12-pack in my pantry for future emergencies.]

With all the horrorshows we see on the news everyday, I think there is a certain immunity, a hard shell that keeps us from truly taking in the human tragedies around us. But I felt a pang when I read this:

Pioneer 10 Signal Fades Into Deep Space As Contact Ends

After more than 30 years, it appears the venerable Pioneer 10 spacecraft has sent its last signal to Earth. Pioneer's last, very weak signal was received on Jan. 22, 2003.

Pioneer 10 was a pioneer in the true sense of the word.

"After it passed Mars on its long journey into deep space, it was venturing into places where nothing built by humanity had ever gone before," said Dr. Colleen Hartman, director of NASA's Solar System Exploration Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington.

"It ranks among the most historic as well as the most scientifically rich exploration missions ever undertaken," she said.

"Originally designed for a 21-month mission, Pioneer 10 lasted more than 30 years. It was a workhorse that far exceeded its warranty, and I guess you could say we got our money's worth," said Pioneer 10 Project Manager, Dr. Larry Lasher.

With all the news reports being filled with stories of failure and tragedy, it is nice to see that something went above and beyond its expectations.

Pioneer 10 explored Jupiter, traveled twice as far as the most distant planet in our solar system, and as Earth's first emissary into space, is carrying a gold plaque that describes what we look like, where we are, and the date when the mission began.

Pioneer 10 will continue to coast silently as a ghost ship into interstellar space, heading generally for the red star Aldebaran, which forms the eye of the constellation Taurus (The Bull). Aldebaran is about 68 light- years away.

It will take Pioneer 10 more than two million years to reach it.

[I hope someone finds it.]

~ ~ ~

Quote du jour:

"Humanity must rise above the Earth, to the top of the atmosphere and beyond, for only then will we fully understand the world in which we live."

-- Socrates, 500 B.C.

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