Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, August 13, 2016

MVNews this week:  Page A:10



Mountain Views-News Saturday, August 13, 2016 


As NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) celebrates 
four years on the Red Planet, University of Leicester 
planetary scientist Professor John Bridges recounts 
the mission’s success and explains what is next for 
the one-ton nuclear-powered science robot.

 The Curiosity rover (with MSL aboard) hit the 
dusty Martian surface on August 6, 2012, and began 
its mission of finding evidence about whether ancient 
Mars offered environmental conditions conducive to 
microbial life.

 By March 2013, NASA reported that MSL had 
achieved its primary objective after scientists found 
evidence of oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, sulfur, 
phosphorous and carbon—all essential chemical 
elements for supporting living organisms.

 Now the mission, which was scheduled to end this 
year, has recently been given a two-year extension.

 Bridges said, “It’s been a great four years—from 
the excitement of landing we have now had 1,421 
Martian days of operations and driven 13.6 km. We 
have learned an enormous amount about Mars.”

 “The old idea of Mars as a simple basaltic planet 
that experienced a few catastrophic floods has been 
disproved. We have encountered ancient lakes and a 
silica-rich crust.

 “Our laser—ChemCam—has made over 350,000 
shots on Mars and we are busily interpreting the 

 Bridges added that the Mars Science Lab’s 
plutonium power source can keep it going for years 
to come. “For the next few years,” he says, we will 
gradually climb further up Mount Sharp; at the 
moment we are in foothills called Murray Buttes.”

 As part of the fourth-year celebration, NASA has 
released a smartphone game, which lets users control 
their own MSL across the rugged terrain of Mars 
searching for water.

 On their mobile devices, players drive a rover 
through rough Martian terrain, challenging 
themselves to navigate and balance the rover 
while earning points along the way. The game 
also illustrates how NASA’s next Mars rover, in 
development for launch in 2020, will use radar to 
search for underground water.

 “We’re excited about a new way for people on the 
go to engage with Curiosity’s current adventures on 
Mars and future exploration by NASA’s Mars 2020 
rover too,” says Michelle Viotti, manager of Mars 
public engagement initiatives at JPL. “Using social 
networks, the user can share the fun with friends. 
The interest that is shared through gameplay also 
helps us open a door to deeper literacy in science, 
technology, engineering and mathematics.” JPL 
collaborated with GAMEE, a network for game-
players, for development of the game, called Mars 

 For more information about how the Mars Rover 
game relates to exploration by NASA’s Mars rovers, 

 Meanwhile, on Mars, the real rover has driven 
to position for drilling into a rock target called 
“Marimba,” to acquire rock powder for onboard 
laboratory analysis. The rover has begun a multi-
month ascent of a mudstone geological unit as it 
heads toward higher and progressively younger 
geological evidence on Mount Sharp.

 During the rover’s first Earth year on Mars, the 
mission accomplished its main goal when it found 
and examined an ancient habitable environment. 
No signs of life have yet been found, but researchers 
determined that a freshwater lake at the Yellowknife 
Bay site billions of years ago offered the chemical 
ingredients and energy favorable for supporting 
microbial life. Stay tuned!

 Here at home, we have good views of Mars in our 
southern sky, along with four other bright planets. 
Venus, now appearing as the “evening star,” is just 
above the southwest horizon after sunset. To the 
upper left of Venus, look for Mercury, Jupiter, orange 
Mars, and golden Saturn (in that order).


 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


 An incident happened this past week that 
created for me a certain pause to think about 

 I don’t often think about too many things. 
After all, with only one little gray cell, it is 
hard to think about things in the plural. “One-
thought-at-a-time,” is my life motto. Experience 
has taught me that too many thoughts at any 
given time, usually leads to trouble with the 
Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.

 I was going to pick up a few items at Publix 
when it happened. I parked in the parking 
lot as normal, got out of the car and started 
towards the store. Halfway to the store is when 
it happened.

 Even now as I think about it, I’m a little 
excited. Believe me; it takes quite a bit to get me 
excited these days.

 Walking towards the entrance to the store, I 
saw on the ground a penny, which caused me to 
stop in my tracks.

 I do not bend over for anything unless it is 
important these days. My problem is that if I 
bend over I will have difficulty in unbending. It 
has to be something rather important for me to 
bend down, let alone pick it up.

 However, there it was in all of its glory.

 I do remember one of my favorite quotes from 
Benjamin Franklin, “A penny saved is a penny 
earned.” He was a wise old man and should 
know about these things.

 I would like to amend that quote by saying, “A 
penny found is a penny earned.” After all, you 
cannot leave a penny there on the ground all by 

 Some people would complain that a penny 
is not worth that much. But a penny is worth 
one cent. And one cent has value, at least in my 

The formula goes something like this: 100 
pennies equals one dollar. 100 dollars equals a 
whole heap of money.

 As I bent down to pick up this orphaned penny, 
I thought of all the other orphaned pennies that 
I have collected throughout my life. I make it a 
practice to adopt all of these orphaned pennies 
and keep them safely on my dresser.

 The penny that I picked up was a little 
corroded and dirty, but it had the same value as 
a bright shiny clean penny. Outside appearances 
do not fool me. In fact, I will take all the dirty 
pennies you have.

 I don’t know if it was my upbringing that 
caused me to be rather cautious with money. Or, 
if not having a lot of money throughout life has 
done the same thing. What I do know is, I am 
very careful when it comes to money.

 Don’t get me wrong. Money is not my god. 
Some people make a god out of money, which I 
think is rather silly. Money cannot create a God, 
but it is interesting that God can create money?

 As a young boy, my father taught me this one 
thing, “Son, if you can’t afford something you 
don’t need it.” I think he was right about 95% 
of the time. Then there are those times when I 
really needed something and could not afford it.

 I have tried to save money. I own a small piggy 
bank that I put extra cash into it as I find it. I try 
to hide it from my wife, which is never a good 
thing. If you have been married as long as I 
have, you will conclude that there is actually no 
way to hide anything from your wife.

 I was trying to save up a little cash for special 
things that I will leave unsaid at this point. 
Whenever I got a new coin, I would put it in this 
little piggy bank I had hidden in my closet.

 I almost reached my goal when something 
happened. I went to get some money out of the 
little piggy bank only to find it empty. Now what 
do I do? Do I let somebody in the house know 
that I’ve had a secret stash in my closet? Do I 
now come out of the closet?

 I figured the best protocol would be to say 
nothing and therefore not get into any trouble. 
Well, you know how that goes.

 That evening as we were watching a little 
TV my wife happened to say, “I hope you don’t 
mind, but I took some of the money out of your 
piggy bank in the closet to buy some items.”

 Don’t mind? Even if I did mind, I really can’t 
say anything. All I could say was, “That’s okay, I 
was just saving it for a rainy day.”

“That’s what I thought,” my wife said most 
thoughtfully, “yesterday was a rainy day.”

 At least my money was used for somebody’s 
good purpose. The thought that danced around 
in my head was, how long did she know I had 
that piggy bank in the closet?

 So, the penny that I found in the parking lot 
this week has found a nice residence in my piggy 
bank, that is, until it rains.

 The apostle Paul said it best, “For the love of 
money is the root of all evil: which while some 
coveted after, they have erred from the faith, 
and pierced themselves through with many 
sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).

 Money certainly has its place, but not in the 
first place where God belongs.


 Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship Ocala, FL where he lives with the 
Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Call him at 
1-866-552-2543 or e-mail 
His web site is

We’d like to hear from you! 

What’s on YOUR Mind?

Contact us at: or www. AND Twitter: @mtnviewsnews

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: