"Mars is now almost blinding, it's absolutely breathtaking...Tonight, it's closer than it's been since maybe we were there," said Richard C. Hoagland as he spoke on a cell phone while peering into a telescope. Live from the Star Hill Inn, an astronomy retreat in New Mexico, Hoagland was the guest on Wednesday night for the entire four hour broadcast of the show, to mark the historic close passing of Mars.
The sky was cloudy, obstructing his view of Mars, until the last third of the show, when Hoagland was able to jubilantly report his first hand observations of details such as the "north polar hood." He also noted with excitement a recent quote of NASA scientist Jim Garvin who said of Mars " I believe it's hiding unbelievable secrets that we're not quite smart enough yet to be able to uncover," in an ABC News story.
"When you look at Mars," Hoagland said near the end of the show, "you're seeing a planet where something has gone terribly wrong. I think that going to Mars and finding out that our ancient ancestors somehow blew it, that whatever there is now is in ruins, will have a stunning dramatic effect on the psyche of people here on this planet. It's something big enough to kick us in the seat of the pants, so that we continue to save the vital atmosphere, ocean and environment of the only world we can live upon without technology."
Bumper music from Wednesday August 27, 2003