Amusing the Muse

Well, I’ve been home nearly 3 days, and I feel the way a bird looks to me when it hits a window. A bit dazed and waiting for my experiences to settle. On the plane home, I read Jim Bell’s new book The Interstellar Age: Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission. While the Voyager probes get the spotlight, there is some information on the Pioneers as well. In his book, Bell quotes John Casani, Voyager‘s Project Manager, saying, “Don’t anthropomorphize the spacecraft. They don’t like it” (20). This tongue-in-cheek comment speaks to the challenge of keeping our inherent emotional impulses at bay when we try to speak precisely about non-human things or non-human animals, whether it is probes or birds hitting windows. Bell also provides terrific links to other resources. Here’s one related to the section of Bell’s book where he quotes Casani, an article written by Melissa Rice about the “cuteness” factor of the Mars Rover. For me, the Rover may be cute, but the Pioneer 10 is beautiful.

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