National Geographic : 2004 May
Forum January 2004 The Mars story elicited the greatest response this month. As is often the case when we publish images of celes tial phenomena, readers tell us that they see things out there. Mickey Mouse was spotted on the cover, and Homer Simpson's head was seen in a picture of Mars on page 31. In the December 2003 article on the Hubble Space Telescope, readers saw a woman's face and even the profile of Jesus in a nebula. Mars Your article on the exploration of Mars was entertaining, but you left out one very important fact: At what cost to us? At a time when we have senior citizens who can't afford proper nutrition because they need their Social Security check to buy the drugs they need to stay alive, how can NASA be justified? It squanders our hard-earned tax dollars on frivolous curiosity that has no return on our investment. LANCE DAVIS ChandlerHeights,Arizona I am so glad that President Bush is planning for more visits to the moon and a visit to Mars. It is important that we expand into space and set up not only space stations but also bases. Many things have slowed the space program, such as the shuttle tragedies, but we must always FOR MORE INFORMATION To get NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC please call 1-800-NGS-UNE (1-800 -647-5463). Hearing-impaired TDD users may call 1-800 -548-9797. The magazine's website: nationalgeo graphic.com/magazine For an online index of all National Geographic publications, go to: nationalgeographic.com/publications strive forward. It's about time the space program received a jump start.Not since President Kennedy has our future looked so bright. PAUL DALE ROBERTS Elk Grove, California The billions of dollars spent to learn if life existed on Mars should be spent on saving Earth's animals and plants that are on the brink of extinction. Besides, if life is found on other planets, it would inevitably be imperiled due to our all too human pro clivity to destroy. BRIEN COMERFORD Glenview, Illinois The Mars piece was great, but you used only metric units of measure. Living in the United States, I don't get to work with the metric system that often. To give your great illustrations more meaning, could you include standard measurements in parentheses? LEW AARONSON Culver City, California Thank you for using metric measurements throughout the article. I only wish that you would extend this practice throughout your publication. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * MAY 2004 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY "For the increase and diffusion of geographic knowledge." The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. Since 1888 the Society has supported more than 7,500 explorations and research projects, adding to knowledge of earth, sea, and sky. JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., Presidentand CEO Executive Vice Presidents TERRENCE B. ADAMSON LINDA BERKELEY, President,Enterprises TERRY D. GARCIA, Mission Programs JOHN Q. GRIFFIN, President,MagazineGroup NINA D. HOFFMAN, President,Books and SchoolPublishingGroup CHRISTOPHER A.LIEDEL, CFO BOARD OF TRUSTEES GILBERT M. GROSVENOR, Chairman REG MURPHY, Vice Chairman JOAN ABRAHAMSON, WILLIAM L.ALLEN, MICHAEL R. BONSIGNORE, MARTHA E. CHURCH, MICHAEL COLLINS, ROGER A. ENRICO, JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., DANIEL S. GOLDIN, JOHN JAYISELIN, JAMES C. KAUTZ, J. WILLARD MARRIOTT, JR., FLORETTA DUKES McKENZIE, GEORGE MUNOZ, PATRICK P.NOONAN, NATIANIEL P. REED, WILLIAM K. REILLY, ROZANNE L RIDGWAY, JAMES IRSASSER, B. FRANCIS SAUL II, GERD SCHULTE-HILLEN TRUSTEES EMERITUS Joe L. Allbritton, Thomas E. Bolger, Frank Borman, Lewis M. Branscomb, Robert L Breeden, Lloyd H. Elliott, George M. Elsey, William Graves, Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, Laurance S. Rockefeller, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Frederick G. Vosburgh COUNCIL OF ADVISORS Roger A. Enrico, Chairman; Michael R. Bonsignore, Howard G. Buffett, Craig D. Campbell, Juliet C. Folger, Robert B. Haas, Robert A. Hefner III, Samuel C. Johnson, Bruce L Ludwig, Sally EngelhardPingree, W. Russell Ramsey,Catherine B. Reynolds,Edward P. Roski,Jr., Aice Rogoff Rubenstein, B. Francis Saul II, Garry A. Weber RESEARCH AND EXPLORATION COMMITTEE Peter H. Raven, Chairman; John M. Francis, Vice Chairman; William L. Allen, Martha E. Church, Steven M. Colman, Scott V. Edwards, William L. Graf, Nancy Knowlton, Dan M. Martin, Scott E. Miller, Jan Nljman, Stuart L. Plmm, Elsa M. Redmond, Bruce D.Smith, Hans Dieter Sues, Patricia C. Wright,MellndaA.Zeder EXPLORERS-IN -RESIDENCE Robert Ballard, WadeDavis, SylviaEarle,ZahiHawass, Louise Leakey, Meave Leakey, Johan Reinhard, Paul Sereno Consvatlon allow:J. Michael Fay CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS-IN RESIDENCE Sam Abell,AnnieGriffithsBelt,DavidDoublet, Karen Kasmauski, Emory Kistof, Frans Lanting MISSION PROGRAMS Vice Peaidenat Barbara A.Chow,Education Foundation; John M. Francis, Research, Conservation,and Exploration; Jacqueline M. Holster, Development Sarah Laskin, Public Programs. Exhblts: Susan S. Norton. Expe dlon Counil: Rebecca Martin. eo~qaphyBee: Mary Lee Elden. Lectures: P.Andrewvan Duym,GregoryA. McGruder School Pu n ErickaMarkman,Sr. Vice President International Robert W. Hernndez, Sr. Vice President. H an Reore Thomas A.Sab, Sr. Vice President. Communca lon: Betty Hudson, Sr. Vice President. Treasuer H.Gregory Platts, Sr. VicePresident NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VENTURES DENNIS It PATRICK, PresidentandCEO Television: Timothy T. Kelly, President National Ge apc Chanel: David Hasllngden, President, International; Laureen Ong, President,U.S . narlonalographlg.com: Chris McAndrews,Senior Vice President and General Manager Contributions to the National Geographic Society are tax deductible under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. tax code. Cop yriht0 2004 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. National Geographic and Yellow Border: Registered Trademarks0 Marcas Reglstradas. National Geographic assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Printed in U.S.A.