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Summit Up

SUMMIT UP
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Special to the DailyThe moose is loose, the moose is loose. By the looks of moose photos flooding the Summit Up inbox, we'd have to say Summit County is crawling with these crazy critters, so awkward looking, yet majestic at the same time. The one pictured here seems to be searching for something, or maybe he's just munching on the rear right-side tire.
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Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that is absolutely fascinated by the latest and greatest news of the universe, specifically the recent landing of yet another spacecraft on Mars. In case you missed it, NASA’s latest effort to find signs of life on the red planet came to fruition last week when the Phoenix lander touched down somewhere, we think, near the polar zone, where there is some frozen water, also known as ice. For those of you who need to know, the landing area is an area called the Vastitas Borealis, at 68 degrees north latitude, 234 degrees east longitude.

The thinking is that, if there is a sign of life anywhere, it would be around here. From what we can tell on the NASA web site, the plan is to scour the ground for pockets of microbes, or some other clue that we are not alone in the universe. Or that we are.

So far, some ground appears to be frozen in semi-regular polygons, similar to permafrost formations on Earth. We’re not exactly sure why, but we know this is important, a tiny part of the answer to the ultimate cosmic riddle. We’re OK with all this. We’re all about space exploration and the quest for knowledge. Being children of the ’60s, we grew up with outer space travel as a big part of our consciousness, and even were fortunate enough to have watched Apollo 11 blast off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

So this is really just our way of saying we think this is pretty cool stuff, and thanks to the miracle of the web, you can check it out almost in real time. It takes nine minutes for light to travel from Mars to Earth, then the NASA guys and gals upload the images on to a bunch of web sites, pure research data posted live. The University of Arizona is taking the lead on this project, so get thee over and check it out at http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/

And this is even waaay cooler. We filed this one away in a dim and musty corner, but based on an Associated Press story that ran in the March 4 Vail Daily, a Martian orbiter filmed a huge landslide, described as an avalanche by observing scientists. We clicked on this link and it still works, so scoot over to http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20080304/NATIONAL02/662776456 for the story and all the pics. It’s, it’s … extra-terrestrial, man!

What we really wanna know is if they found any snow-free Little League ballfields on Mars. One of our field agents helps train nine and 10-year-olds for the Angels, and reports that kids, coaches and organizers persevered through tough spring training conditions this year. One team practiced in an asphalt parking lot before moving to a poop-covered field in a local park, where they had to pick up many, many turds before they could set up bases, veering around two-foot-deep piles of slush. After seeing a few games, our field agent reports the kids are playing some heads-up ball, with a good handle on the fundamentals. As late as May 22, a game was called after one inning with an inch of new snow on the ground, after fine display of Angel batting in a thickening blizzard. Big props to the program. All ball fans are welcome at the games, Tuesdays and Thursdays afternoon-evenings at the Middle School Field and other fine Little League venues around the county.

Besides searching for a snow-free zone, the Martian lander should be on the lookout for moose. We have received a slew of moose-sighting reports recently, most of them backed with photographic evidence. Oh, wait, that’s right here on Earth, not Mars! Our bad.

Anyway, we’ve noticed one thing: In only ONE of these pictures is the head of the moose visible. Which makes us wonder, is it a single moose that’s making the rounds? Sometimes we picture the face of Spiro Agnew on the head of the moose. That makes us smile. Is there a whole herd of moose roaming around the county? How many moose live here, anyway? Or is it all a hoax, a single stuffed moose that someone is carrying around and using as a prop? So we have all these pictures, a veritable rogues gallery of mooses, and somewhere on this page we show you at least one.

Play Ball!


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