Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, February 17, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:11

Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 17, 2018 11THE WORLD AROUND US 
Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 17, 2018 11THE WORLD AROUND US 
A chunk of Mars will soon be returning home.

A piece of a meteorite called Sayh al Uhaymir008 (SaU008) will be carried on board NASA’s Mars 
2020 rover mission, now being built at the agency’sJet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
This chunk will serve as target practice for a high-
precision laser on the rover’s arm.

Mars 2020’s goal is ambitious: collect samplesfrom the Red Planet’s surface that a future mission 
could potentially return to Earth. One of the rover’smany tools will be a laser designed to illuminaterock features as fine as a human hair. 

That level of precision requires a calibrationtarget to help tweak the laser’s settings. PreviousNASA rovers have included calibration targetsas well. Depending on the instrument, the targetmaterial can include things like rock, metal or glass,
and can often look like a painter’s palette.

But working on this particular instrumentsparked an idea among JPL scientists: why not usean actual piece of Mars? Earth has a limited supplyof Martian meteorites, which scientists determined 
were blasted off Mars’ surface millions of years ago.

These meteorites aren’t as unique as thegeologically diverse samples 2020 will collect. Butthey’re still scientifically interesting—and perfectfor target practice.

“We’re studying things on such a fine scalethat slight misalignments, caused by changes intemperature or even the rover settling into sand, canrequire us to correct our aim,” said Luther Beegleof JPL. Beegle is principal investigator for a laserinstrument called SHERLOC (Scanning HabitableEnvironments with Raman and Luminescence for 
Organics and Chemicals).

SHERLOC will be the first instrument on Mars 
to use Raman and fluorescence spectroscopes,
scientific techniques familiar to forensics experts.
Whenever an ultraviolet light shines over certaincarbon-based chemicals, they give off the same 
characteristic glow that you see under a black light.

Scientists can use this glow to detect chemicalsthat form in the presence of life. SHERLOC willphotograph the rocks it studies, then map thechemicals it detects across those images.

Martian meteorites are precious in their rarity.
Only about 200 have been confirmed by The 

Meteoritical Society, which has a database listingthese vetted meteorites. 
To select the right one for SHERLOC, JPL turnedto contacts at NASA’s Johnson Space Center inHouston, as well as the Natural History Museum ofLondon. Not just any Martian meteorite would do:
its condition would need to be solid enough that itwould not flake apart during the intensity of launchand landing.
It also needed to possess certain chemicalfeatures to test SHERLOC’s sensitivity. These had 
to be reasonably easy to detect repeatedly for thecalibration target to be useful. Experts tried severalsamples, cutting off thin bits to test whether theywould crumble. Using a “flaky” sample coulddamage the entire meteorite in the process.
The SHERLOC team ultimately agreed on usingSaU008, a meteorite found in Oman in 1999. 
Besides being more rugged than other samples, apiece of it was available courtesy of Caroline Smith,
principal curator of meteorites at London’s NaturalHistory Museum. 
“Every year, we provide hundreds of meteoritespecimens to scientists all over the world for study,” 
Smith said. “This is a first for us: sending one of oursamples back home for the benefit of science.” 
Along with its own Martian meteorite, 
SHERLOC’s calibration target will include severalinteresting scientific samples for human spaceflight.
These include materials that could be used to make 
spacesuit fabric, gloves and a helmet’s visor.
You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@ 

[Nyerges is the author ofUnfortunately, there are no original surviving 

several books, a teacher, and documents from the teachings of Valentinus. So, if you

blogger. He can be reached via want to discover what he actually believed and taught,

School of Self-reliance at Box you have to study fragmentary quotations found in the

41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, writings of his orthodox Christian opponents.

or www.ChristopherNyerges.Through research, we learn that Valentinus was

com, where one can view his influenced by Plato (the main source of the teachings of

various blogs.]Socrates), Zoroastrianism, and Christianity. Valentinus

Way back in the pre-Christian era of Europe, whenalso spoke of a spiritual realm which he called Pleroma,
many gods were worshipped, there was Lupercus, awhich consisted of “emanations” evolving from anpastoral god, sometimes identified with Faunus or Pan.original divine being. These have been described as 
Lupecus/Faunus is depicted as having the body of a manthe layers of an onion, with each layer being a whollybut the horns, pointed ears, tail, and hind legs of a goat.complete reality. It’s all very interesting, though it’s all aThat is, Faunus is more or less identical with the satyr,bit second-hand because whatever Valentinus wrote was 
who was said to be lustful, ever ready to party. And the apparently “lost” or destroyed by opponents.
folks back then had a special commemoration day just forThe term Gnosticism came from the word “gnosis,” 
this party animal.defined as spiritual knowledge. Those who followed this 

The day was called Lupercalia, which fell on Februaryline of study were called the Gnostics, and many were

15. On Lupercalia, cards were given (often with subtle orreferred to as Christian Gnostics. But by the third century,
overt sexual offers and overtones), and men reportedlythe more orthodox Christian church (and the politicalchased women through the streets. Wow! Soundspower of the day), decided to oppose and persecute thesomewhat like Mardi Gras, or Disneyland’s “Pirates ofGnostics. By the end of the third century, Gnosticism asthe Carribbean.” a distinct movement had largely disappeared.
OK, fast forward to 2017, and the stores of our town are Now, here’s the quiz: Where in all this did you hearfull of red and pink hearts, and lovers and sweethearts areanything about chocolates, hearts, greeting cards,
looking for something to give that special person. Why?bunnies, jewelry, roses, or lace underwear? Plus, there 
Because February 14 is the day set aside to commemoratedoesn’t appear to be any historical connection with anya real historical person named Valentinus, the day we nowof the individuals named Valentinus with the date of 
call “Saint Valentine’s Day.” And who was Valentinus? February 14.
With just a little bit of research, we learn that thisIt is difficult to ascertain why the commemoration ofValentinus person was stoned, clubbed, and beheaded inValentinus was used to supplant, uplift, and supercedeabout the year 270 A.D. He was violently killed by an the already-existing commemoration of Lupercus, butunruly mob. But why? Did Valentinus have somethingthat’s what happened. Yet, very little of the trappings ofto do with chocolates and hearts? Did he have anythingmodern St. Valentine’s Day have anything to do with thewhatsoever to do with the festivities of Lupercalia?historical Valentinus. 

It turns out that there were at least two people calledAnd that’s really a shame, since Valentinus was asValentinus – possibly more – who lived in the 2nd andimportant as perhaps Socrates or Pythagoras, and yet most3rd Centuries. One – who the Catholic Church now of us only associate him with the silly commercialism ofcalled Saint Valentine – was beheaded in 270 A.D. Lupercalia’s remnants. Certainly it’s possible that the

Another Valentinus lived about a century earlier andChurch engineered this substitution so that men wouldfounded one of the most important sects of Gnosticism.quit chasing women through the streets on this day.
He was born in Egypt and educated in Alexandria. He There’s really nothing wrong with telling your lovedsettled in Rome during the reign of Pope Hyginus andones that you love them! In fact, we need to do that 
taught there for more than 20 years. He attracted a largemore often. But you might also benefit by taking a littlefollowing to his beliefs, due in part to his intelligence, histime and study a bit about this great teacher Valentinus.
eloquence of speech, and his impeccable arguments.This is also a good time to contemplate the meaning of

But the teachings of this Valentinus differed in some“love,” and how we can improve our ability to be lovingways from the Christian church of that time, and whenwith everyone. One excellent book in this regard isthe office for the Bishop of Rome opened up, he wasEric Fromm’s “Art of Loving.” Once you get into thisnot selected. Valentinus decided to split off from thebook, you may discover – as I did -- that much of what 
Christian church, left Rome, and continued to developFromm wrote is very relevant today, and very relevant tohis own doctrines as he saw fit. Valentine’s Day. 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder 


Last Saturday evening the photographer, I could not go into the water. I 
Gracious Mistress of the actually made that rule up, but nobody objected. 
Parsonage and Yours Truly Everyone was too busy yelling, “Hey, grandpa, 

were reclining on the living room sofa enjoying watch this,” to worry about my swimming.
our evening cup of coffee. It is a wonderful way Once back home I broke out my secret cache of 
to unwind after a week of activity. No matter how water pistols and the water fight to end all water 
hectic the week was, a few quiet moments with a fights commenced. All I know is that next month 
cup of Joe can put everything in perspective.when I get my water bill I will wonder who in the 

After an extended time of silence my wife used all that water. Then, I will smile when 
“Listen. Do you hear that?”I remember how in the world it was used. Money 
“Hear what?” I enquired.well spent, I assure you.
“That. Don’t you hear it?”Now, all of that is memory, and oh, what 
The smile on her face indicated that what she memories. For months, my wife and I will say to 

was hearing was rather pleasing.each other, “Do you remember what Owen said?” 

Well, I strained my ears as if they were corn Then we will laugh again. Or, “Do you remember 
and I still did not hear a thing. Usually, I am up what Simon did?” And the memory will have us in 
on all the sounds echoing throughout our abode, hysterics.
mainly because I am the source of most of them, In some quiet moment one of us will say, “I was 
but this had me baffled. The more I strained the just thinking of what Dylan did at the beach when 
less I heard. he they were all here.” And the other will smile and 

“You don’t hear that?” nod remembering the incident.

I put my coffee cup down so I could give all my “Remember when all the grandchildren were on 
attention to hearing exactly what she was hearing. the trampoline?”
It is a proven fact that women hear a lot more than We will and it will be hard to wipe the smile 
men do. It probably is a genetic thing wives inherit from our faces. Memories are better remembered 
from their mothers. The only things men inherit in silent moments when they can rightly be 
from their fathers are “pull my finger” jokes, which appreciated.
only come in handy at family reunions.Then my wife said, “Didn’t Tyler and Taylor 

Then, to my delight, I heard it, too. It was the and Jordan and Olivia seem to enjoy playing with 
golden tones of silence whistling through the their cousins from Ohio? I’ve never seen them so 
corridors of our house. Ah, silence, my old friend.happy.”

For the past week that sound was a stranger In one of those pensive moments I thought about 
within our walls. But now, much to our delight, it who had the good sense to invent grandchildren. 
had returned and what a return. There must have been a quiet moment in heaven 

For the past week, all the Snyder grandchildren when God looked around and said, “It’s too quiet 
had invaded our home front. At last count, there here. What can we do to liven things up a little?”
were eight. I can’t be sure because several of them, Everybody looked at each other and the silence 
I’m not sure how many, were running around so got quieter. It was then that God had one of those 
much I could not count them. They ranged from 9 moments that changes everything. He smiled and 
months all the way to 13 years. There are two girls looked at everyone and said, “I know exactly what 
and the rest are…well, not girls. When someone is needed.” Then God created his greatest work, 
said that boys will be boys, they sure knew what grandchildren.
they were talking about.I like what the Bible says along this line. 

It was one glorious seven-day-period of activity, “Children’s children are the crown of old men; and 
noise and, yes, something I had forgotten, smells. the glory of children are their fathers.” (Proverbs 
I can never figure out how something so cute 17:6).
and so small can smell…well…so bad. Why is God seems to like the idea of grandchildren. 
it grandchildren always want to sit on grandpa’s “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting 
lap when they are in such a delicate condition? to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his 
Do they think, as we get older our nose goes into righteousness unto children’s children;” (Psalms 
hibernation? Mine hasn’t, yet. Believe me.103:17).

My wife and I tried packing into those 7 days as Silence may be golden but it does not compare 
much memories as humanly possible. It is a rare to the silver trumpet of grandchildren all talking at 
time when the grandchildren are all in one place the same time. 
– our place. We enjoyed some great times together 
and went to some local places of interest, interest Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
to children. For some reason my suggestion of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. 
visiting some of my favorite used bookstores did He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. 
not fly, but the beach was a resounding “Yeaaaaaa.” Phone 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.

So, to the beach we went fully attired in the net. The church web site is www.whatafellowship. 
proper swimming gear. As the official family com. 

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