Like many others, I cheered as NASA’s InSight spacecraft landed gingerly onto the Martian surface after its six-months-long, fingernail-biting journey across space. On numerous radio interviews this week, however, I’ve been asked, “Why do we spend millions of dollars to explore a desolate rock more than thirty million miles away? Why in the world do we even care about it, given our truly serious problems here on Earth?”
In one of the most provocative and misunderstood studies of the year, scientists in the U.S. and Switzerland have made an astonishing discovery: All humans alive today are the offspring of a common father and mother – an Adam and Eve – who walked the planet 100,000 to 200,000 years ago, which by evolutionary standards is like yesterday.
The book of Genesis refers to the sun as the “greater light to govern the day” and the moon as the “lesser light to govern the night.” This month’s so-called Strawberry Moon, however, reminds us that in many significant ways we give greater attention and importance to the moon than the sun – and it shows in the dizzying number of nicknames we give it.
More than any other planet in the solar system, Mars has always inspired speculation that it once had life and perhaps still does – if not little green men, then at least microbes. NASA’s much-hyped announcement this week about the Red Planet wasn’t earth-shattering, but it certainly keeps such conjecture alive.