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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorial Sampler: Curiosity sticks the landing ...

- Mission to Mars: Curiosity rover lands safely - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Americans’ idea of space exploration is based mostly on movie and television fiction. "To boldly go where no man has gone before." "Open the pod bay doors, HAL." "To infinity and beyond."

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Oddly, though, our perception of real space exploration also comes to us through the screen, as it did late Sunday night, when the Curiosity rover transmitted its first grainy pictures from the surface of Mars.

At that point the rational mind has to make a distinction between fiction and fact, though both are perceived the same way. When it does, and it is convinced that the Curiosity rover is real, not fiction, it is awed. It is wowed. It is dazzled.

In fact, when it comes to feats of real space engineering, it doesn’t get much better than Curiosity. [Read the rest ...]

- Drama of exploration rekindles curiosity - Arizona Republic Editorial

For self-proclaimed science geeks, the engineers of NASA know how to punch emotional buttons.

They send a 1-ton, thoroughly tricked-out gizmo costing $2.6 billion hurtling through the thin Martian atmosphere at around 13,000 mph, declaring the critical maneuver their project's "seven minutes of terror."

What red-blooded American kid isn't going to respond to that? ...

- NASA wins gold with flawless landing on Mars - Dale McFeatters, Scripps Howard News Service/Deseret News

The most elaborate, technically difficult and demanding dismount came not in the London Olympics but 352 million miles away in a vast Martian crater. ...

- Intense Curiosity - Ogden Standard-Examiner Editorial

... It’s evidence that we’re still moving in the right direction in our efforts to explore and better understand the vast universe. Everything that could have gone right, went right on Sunday night. ...

- Victory in space: Curiosity rover's gold-medal-worthy landing on Mars - Los Angeles Daily News Editorial

... As someone on Twitter said in the minutes after the successful landing of the SUV-size vehicle and robot laboratory was confirmed: Give the USA the gold medal in the 563 billion meters. ...

- Why Mars matters - Los Angeles Times Editorial

In the face of recession and hard budget choices, the Mars program is under pressure. But NASA is so close to unlocking some of life's great mysteries on the Red Planet.

- No time for NASA to abort the mission - San Francisco Chronicle Editorial

... The space agency's magicians managed to land a 1-ton, high-tech mobile laboratory on the surface of the red planet this week to seek evidence that conditions once existed there that might have allowed life to emerge and evolve. If such data is found, it could change the way we think about the universe - and ourselves. ...

- Mars and taxes - Matt Miller, The Washington Post

... These humans are so easily manipulated. Will there ever be intelligent life on Earth? ...

And, a little bit closer to home:

- Persistence on science center merits big thank you - Spokane Spokesman-Review Editorial

Two sources close to the editorial board – an 11-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy – sampled the new Mobius Science Center in downtown Spokane and declared it "cool." ...



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