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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Zeus must be green with envy

Today I viewed a slide show from Time.com highlighting ten objects that had been carried into space. The first picture showed three Lego figurines that have accompanied the Juno probe. The Juno probe was launched on August 5th, 2011 and will arrive in orbit around the planet scientists believe was the first to be created in our solar system sometime during the year 2016.

I could get lost in all the information that is available on the Internet concerning this mission. Although not a huge space nut, I do think it’s cool that we are exploring the space around us. The NASA Juno website is especially cool with a haunting soundtrack reminiscent of Myst and other neat multimedia tidbits.
But the real impetus for today’s blog is those three little Lego figures:

                                  Two fictional characters and a scientist?

In case you can’t pick them out, here’s who is riding Juno on its five-year trek to Jupiter:

Jupiter: On the right is Jupiter, the king of the Roman gods (or Jim Morrison). Jupiter makes all the sense in the world, right? I mean, the mission is to explore his eponymous world. Luckily he has his trademark lightning bolts handy in case things get dicey.

Juno: In the middle is Juno, Jupiter’s wife. One website I found, that talks about the Roman gods, mentioned that Jupiter was a little scared of Juno. That must be because she used to hit him with the frying pan she is holding in her hand. I swear when I first looked at this picture I thought to myself, ‘Why are they sending a Lego image of Chris Evert into space?'

Galileo: On the left, we have Galileo Galilei, the Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher. Naturally, he’s holding a telescope and a soccer ball-sized rendition of Jupiter – the planet – not the Roman god. I can only imagine that Galileo is a tad cranky about a couple of things; one, his head looks ridiculous. The least NASA and Lego could have done was give him a comb-over. And two, he’s no doubt thinking to himself, ‘How did I get stuck on a five-year space journey with two mythological figures?’ NASA could’ve put a red velvet hat on him and he would’ve looked like Santa Claus bearing astronomical gifts.

I don’t really believe in extra-terrestrials. But for the sake of argument, what if some alien life forms are cruising by Jupiter around 2016 – maybe the ones that are in that cloaked ship out by Mercury – and happen upon these three figures. What are they going to think about Earth and the people who inhabit our planet?

What do you think?

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