SOME PROSE-POETIC-PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON
THE MARS EXPLORATION PROGRAM
In the last 17 years during which I’ve had a website I’ve been inspired by various events in astronomy. The following sequence of poems has, as part of its inspiration, the exploration of Mars some 80 million km away. In the last week some of the best photos of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity have become accessible in cyberspace.
Taken on a Martian flat spot called John Klein, one of the images was just published today in cyberspace by scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The photo is a composition of multiple photos taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on 3 February 2013. According to NASA “the self-portrait was acquired to document the drilling site,” but we all know they did it because it is freaking awesome. This is how the magic happened:
The rover’s robotic arm is not visible in the mosaic. MAHLI, which took the component images for this mosaic, is mounted on a turret at the end of the arm. Wrist motions and turret rotations on the arm allowed MAHLI to acquire the mosaic’s component images. The arm was positioned out of the shot in the images or portions of images used in the mosaic. Go to this link for the latest news on the project: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/
Pioneer 10 was launched on 2 March 1972 and reached a speed of over 52,000 km per hour for its flight to Jupiter. It was the fastest object to leave the Earth. It passed the Moon in 11 hours and in 12 weeks crossed the orbit of Mars 80 million km away. I had passed through my own asteroid belt in Whyalla South Australia on my way to my own Pluto and, in time, studied my own solar winds and cosmic rays in my own deep space before my full-time teaching career ended on 23 July 1999 with its own weak signal.—Ron Price with thanks to BBC News, Science/Nature, 26 February 2003.
There are pioneers and pioneers
and here is one drifting among
the stars carrying a message on
its side from the creatures here
on Earth.....Now in deep space
over 12 billion km away on one
of the most historic, scientifically
rich explorations ever undertaken
...and now here is another pioneer
among pioneers drifting among
the firmament of his generation
carrying a message to the seekers
among his contemporaries from a
spiritual heartland of a new age,
a new age emerging lightening
swift as a tempest grips mankind
with unprecedented, unpredictable
consequences across the face of the
entire Earth during my entire life.
10 July 2008
A FRESH INFLUENCE
In the last year archaeologists have discovered a rich heritage of rock art in northern Australia, in the Northern Territory and in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, which is rewriting the history of human settlement in Australia and the world. During this same year the human community has arrived on Mars, discovered an ocean on one of Jupiter’s moons and spread out a tapestry of beauty on Carmel’s mountainside. -Ron Price, A Survey of the Last Twelve Months: 1996-97, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 20/9/’97.
As we go out into the universe
we are mapping the past: back,
back into archeological and
geological epochs, finding
carboniferous and jurassic
anomolies and Aboriginal
rock art by brilliant artists
portraying dynamic musculature
and interpretations of the past
unveiled by ferro-luminescence,
as tremendous forces latent in the
inmost reality of this precious Faith
exert daily a fresh influence1 and my days
like unto a gentle breeze2 in the Antipodes.
20 September 1997
By the early 1990s the Arc Project was making large holes in the side of Mt. Carmel. During this same period of time, in 1993, the Hubble Spacecraft was fixed in the heavens. As the Arc Project headed to completion in 2000 and 2001, Hubble sent back data that allowed astrophysicists to determine with some accuracy the age of the universe at 12 billion years. Some 40,000 galaxies could be observed in the sky behind a curvature the size of a grain of sand and there was a vast increase in the knowledge of the origins of stars.
The Sun and the Moon were also studied during the construction of the Arc Project telling us much more about these heavenly bodies. The Sun's polar regions were investigated during this period. Asteroids and comets were also examined in more detail than ever before. Mars and Saturn also came under the astronomers' microscopes.-Ron Price with thanks to The Internet: Planetary Science Spacecraft, 24 June 2002.
They1 said we stood on the threshold
of the last decade
of the radiant twentieth century.
The prospects were dazzling:
little did we know
we'd be able to go back
and see our origins
12 billion years ago.
Yes, there was an acceleration
of spiritual forces then
as May 1992 approached.
The suddenness, the speeding-up,
the transformational impact
on my poetic output,
the new feelings of delight
on the dry soil of my heart
and a certain bewilderment
which I have been trying
to understand since those
winter months when
it really began,2
made me slowly realize
that, at last, I could
not do everything
on this long, slippery
and tortuous path
as that dynamic synchronization
at last approached.
1 The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan Message 1990.
2 In the winter months of June to August 1992 I wrote 35 poems, the precursors to an immense poetic unfolding of about 600 poems each year for the next ten years: 1992-2002.
-Ron Price 27 June 2002
THE RISING TIDE
Eighteen months after the first election of The Universal House of Justice in April 1963, the USA launched Mariner 4. Eight months later the first photographs of another planet, Mars, were sent to Earth. This took place at the outset of the tenth and final stage of history, a series of stages outlined by the Guardian before he passed away in 1957. I was trying to sort out my academic life at university and my embryonic romantic life at the time. The photographs came back two months after my father died in July 1965. The following vahid, nineteen line poem, states things simply. -Ron Price, Pioneering Over Three Epochs, Unpublished Manuscript, 2000.
While the protagonists
in the greatest drama
in human history were
being clearly illumined;1
while the very pattern and
sinews of world order
continued their historic
course;2 while the tide
of victory, the celebration,
of the Most Great Jubilee
was rising3 in the first two
years and two months of
the tenth stage of history,
the world saw the first
photos of another planet
in our solar system. I think
I missed the whole event.
My tide was rising in a
different part of the sea.
1 The Cause and the World
2 The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 1965.
13 May 2000
THIS CELESTIAL RETREAT: AT THE EDGES
At the farthest reaches of the world often occur new marvels and wonders, as though Nature plays with greater freedom secretly at the edges of the world than she does openly and nearer us in the midst of it. -Carmel Bush, Dear Writer: Revised and Expanded, Strunk and White, 1996(1988), p.66.
We’ve jumped to Mars1 now in this brief
time span before the century ends, a precious
time beyond telling and we: with responsibilities
pressing upon us as we strive toward our God-
promised destiny, with the hosts of the Abha
Kingdom ready to rush to our support as we offer
our acts of service to the spiritual drama of these
momentous days and tremendous forces in the
in-most reality of things daily exert influence,
shining forth with greater intensity and taking
root in the world of being in this spiritual
springtime with its torrential rains, roaring
floods and their tempestuous, soul-stirring
powers at the centre of this celestial retreat.
5 July 1997
1 A space mission to Mars, Sojourn, arrived from the USA on 4 July of 1997.