Letters to the editor

August 06, 1997

Letters to the editor

Some questions on Mars landing

To the editor:

The Mars landing and exploration generates several questions that need to be asked and answered to forestall skepticism about what is being presented for public consumption.

First, we see on TV what is supposedly from a camera somewhere in back of the robot showing the robot and the area ahead. In the past to get such a picture another camera had to be used adjacent to the area.

In the moon landing this was accomplished by another member of the mission. How is this done in the Mars case?


Secondly, in the moon event, because of the relatively short distance, communication was near instant - not so for Mars. The speed of light and radio signals is 186,000 miles per second. When multiplied by 60 seconds it would travel 11,160,000 miles in a minute.

It has been stated that it takes 10 minutes for a signal to travel from Earth to Mars, so 10 minutes times the miles per minute is 111 million miles - this approximates the distance between the two points.

By this statistic what is seen of a robot running into a rock on Mars would be seen on earth 10 minutes after it happened.

A signal sent to the robot to change direction would arrive there 10 minutes later - for a total time lapse of 20 minutes from the time of impact.

Does this mean that the robot continues to try to go forward or does it shut down automatically until a corrective signal arrives from Earth? Either way, by the number of obstructions shown on TV that the robot would encounter and each taking 20 minutes to start to maneuver the robot, that means a lot of nonproductive time is wasted in just communicating.

Another question arises as to the robot's ability to analyze the composition of the matter it encounters on its travels. Here on Earth, we have laboratories with extensive and complicated means of analyzing compounds. Can we reasonably expect to find such capabilities in a robot the size of a microwave oven? If so, then we had better scrap our laboratories and enlist a few Mars robots for our scientific research.

Lastly, how much of what is being presented is fantasy-land propaganda and how much is for real? I am sure there is someone out there who can dispel this skepticism.

David E. Culler


AMI says thanks

To the editor:

Alliance for the Mentally Ill (AMI) would like to thank the following for making our annual picnic a great success: Maugansville Fire Company, County Market, Weiss Market, Martin's Grocery, Kerch's, Smithsburg Market, the Coke Cola company and Marlo Barnhart.

To everyone who brought food, and to all those who assisted in so many ways to make this a special event, your help was greatly appreciated. A special thanks to God for holding back the rain and giving us a break in the hot weather. Most important our gratitude goes to the consumers who struggle with mental illness daily; you are truly the heros of the day!

We look forward to seeing everyone at the AMI Antietam walk Sept. 27 from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. For pledge sheets or to sponsor a walker call Consumer Advocacy Office at 301-790-5054.

Connie Pauley


AMI of Washington County

Support this service

To the editor:

As a member of the small community of Clear Spring, I would like to thank Jerry Aleshire for opening a pharmacy in our small rural town. Over the years Clear Spring was fortunate to have two physicians, one dentist and three grocery stores. Currently the town is host to two liquor stores, two taverns, one dentist and three grocery stores.

I encourage all resident to patronize the new pharmacy. I also suggest that those who take their business to other places may want to consider that a large percentage of the Clear Spring population consists of elderly citizens and many do not drive. If we who are more mobile do not support local businesses, those services, like the doctors and dentist who have moved on, may not be available when we are among the senior citizen who need those services to be provided close to home.

I applaud Aleshire for taking the chance with his livelihood by daring to make a much-needed service available to the small community where he grew up and has been life-long resident.

Donna J. Messina

Clear Spring

The Herald-Mail Articles