I don’t know you but I am very excited about NASA’s Insight Mission. After 7 months of travelling through space, the Mars lander safely arrived on the dusty plains of the Red Planet. It has even sent its first pictures from Mars.
I have always been fascinated by finding planets with life forms other than our beautiful Earth. The thought of us being alone in the whole universe doesn’t appeal to me. Imagine all those places and species from Star Wars being true. It wouldn’t surprise me as all the technology we watch on screen seems to become reality later on.
I always believed that in order to understand the future we need to look at the past. History provides us with endless clues about the origins of our world. Yet, lost in our arrogance, we seem to choose and believe what we think is logical. It is a slippery and confusing word ‘logical’. We don’t mind believing in the documents that were written by some people 1000 or 2000 years ago, yet we do not mention the stone tablets that tell a story of our beginning using the first known form of writing, that is cuneiform from the Sumerians. We are very selective in the way that we choose facts and how we analyse them.
The Sumerians left a vast library of tablets behind them with fascinating information about their origins and lives on Earth. They preserved this knowledge using clay tablets, probably because they would last forever. They used cuneiform, the earliest known writing system. Its origins can be traced back to about 8,000 BC. I went to the ‘I am Ashurbanipal’ exhibition at the British Museum only a few days ago and could see how the Sumerians have had an impact on the very fabric of local culture over the centuries. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest that you don’t miss it, you will find out about the fascinating story of the Assyrian Empire through very rare artefacts.
How did my conversation moved from NASA to the Sumerians? Well, I was looking at the image of a 4500 years old cylinder seal which is now kept in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg in Russia. The seal shows an Earth astronaut being greeted by another astronaut from Mars and a spacecraft in between them. When I looked at the design of the spacecraft I asked myself whether NASA was inspired by the Sumerians when creating the Mars Lander.
I can’t wait to see what else this small spacecraft will send us from Mars.
Image: Earth Mars connection, 2500 (©Z. Sitchin 2004, http://www.sitchin.com)
Image: NASA Mars lander