Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I read a story a week or so ago about three teenagers lost in the ocean for more than a month, in an unlikely boat and without food or water. It was exactly as planned out as you would expect, which is to say not at all--just three kids who got a little drunk and decided that it was time for an adventure. That they made it through is maybe not the biggest miracle, but it's definitely not the smallest.

More immediately, NASA tells us that it plans to stop listening for transmissions from the Mars rover Spirit tomorrow. I think about that rover more often than I care to admit, sunk into the soft sand in the middle of a crater all alone, a tiny point in that vast empty landscape. The other one is still up there, wandering up all of those hills and through all of those valleys. Sometimes I wonder if it will come across its twin, fixed and sculptural there, if it would even recognize it as another of its own. If the communication links that have broken down between the planets can work between robots. Or if it won't, and which would be worse.

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