It’s amazing what our scientists can see and measure in space — a harnessing of brilliant minds focusing on projects for which we may not see practical application for many years.

This week a spacecraft circling Mars snapped footage of avalanches near the planet’s north pole. Fortunately we do not have to send rescue teams to dig anyone out, though I’m sure President Bush might pose that such an effort of saving Martians might be a good political year antic. Just kidding. I’m pretty sure the president knows we couldn’t get there in time to do any good.

I’m impressed that our scientists measured the debris cloud so acutely. Some were more than 590 feet across. And the avalanches broke off pieces of a 2,300-foot cliff. Wow! That is precise! I’ve seen football games where officials couldn’t immediately decide where to place the ball after a fumble recovery, and they are right there on the field with enough yard sticks to measure Donald Trump’s ego.

The scientists don’t know if these avalanches occur regularly or just in the spring. No one has posed that other universe events, such as the chance of a woman being elected president, or an African-American being elected president or gays being discovered in the Republican Party upset any kind of order in the cosmos, causing these disturbances.

We should note that NASA adventures have brought us many viable off-shoots. Satellite communications are perhaps the most prominent result of our space program.

And before you get ahead of me here, I’m not going to say that President Bush was probably most excited by the great “Tang” discovery. That would be in poor taste. So if you thought that, you were wrong.

So I have often wondered what else might be developed for daily application if we could borrow some of those brilliant NASA minds for just a short while.

For instance, I would like for someone to build a hot water heater with a door in the bottom large enough to stick your arm in and dig out the mineral deposits with a small sand shovel.

There’s a little tiny drain opening in mine that you can stick a tea spoon in. I spent a very cold night a few years ago with a tea spoon tied to a piece of fishing rod, dipping out little chunks of limestone. Following that event, I had a much greater appreciation for prisoners of war who managed to dig out of those stalags a pocket full of dirt at the time.

You see on spacecraft, they have doors big enough for grown men to pass through that seal tight enough to keep stardust and Martians out. I’m sure that same technology could be applied to a hot water heater.

As well, we hear very clear conversations between Houston and our guys in the space shuttle. Just imagine if that technology was applied to an intercom system at a fast food restaurant.

And look what brilliant photos we get from space. They say you can see the Great Wall of China. But I don’t think we’ll ever be able to see that fence between the U.S. and Mexico though — unless of course there are a lot of extension ladders propped against it.

For once I would like to see such photographic prowess applied to the Bigfoot search. Then we could tell once and for all if that’s a price tag and a zipper we’re seeing on the monkey suit.

And yes, I would like to see a fuel gauge for cars where the needle spends just as much time on the lower half as it does on the upper half. But that issue may be moot now. Because of fuel prices, I’m only using the lower half of the gauge anyway.

(Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of the Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail:

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