Sunday, March 8, 2009

Photos from Mars

The Mars pathfinder mission seemed to be a very important event in history. We had already been to the moon by this point. We’ve received space telescopes pictures of Mars and several other planets. So we already knew what planets, besides Earth, looked like from space. This was the first time we were able to see another planet from its surface. And it still is. The pictures sent from Mars also helped scientists understand our planet. And just for kicks, we were also interested in life on Mars, if any. We have been fascinated with Mars for years, and have found evidence that Mars may have once been like Earth. The pathfinder’s mission on Mars, and the visual evidence it collected has led scientists to continue their search for life on Mars and other planets. More contemporary stories that have been printed in the last year or so have been of new planets found in other star systems in our galaxy.

Both, the New York Times and the Los Angeles times reported the story on July 8, 1997. Science writer KC Cole of the LA Times approached the story with the perspective of the public eye. Her writing was uplifting, easy to read. The story was written as a “what’s to come story.” The story depicts detailed information of the images of Mars: rock colors, shades, sky details. She went into detail of what the mission entitled and what people should look forward to in the near future. The article answers why scientists and the public should be interested what Mars looks like. Cole also reports on the scientists’ effort to gather as much information as they can. I found this article easy, informative and very well written.

John Noble Wilford, of the New York Times, approached the story a little differently but still focused on the celebration of the photos being delivered to Earth. He too, described the images of Mars and history of the mission. He focused part of the story on the budget of the project, reporting on the cost of the project, and how much more future expenses. The story covered more of the behind the scenes, as well as give a description of the images sent by the pathfinder. Wilford explained in his story the way Mars highlands have been on the planet for billions of years. Unlike the other story, this story was structured more on the pathfinder’s equipment, and its day on the planet. It seemed as though Wilford wrote this to be an actual report, rather than a story.

Both reporters talked to several top researchers and research leaders that worked on the project. There wasn’t enough reportage from the government. As a reporter, knowing this is a national accomplishment, the story would have been better if government officials expressed their views of the accomplishment made.

This story is rather contemporary. During this time, tabloid journalism was rapidly growing, and many tabloid papers came out with stories of actual events, such as the bombing at the World Trade center. Around this time, many stories about UFO’s were written for tabloid papers.

"Scientists Get New View of Mars Landscape" KC Cole LA Times

"Mars Yeidling Flood of Data on Ancient Deluge" John Noble Wilford New York Times

1 comment:

  1. This is undoubtedly the most tragic of all the historic events posted here. Once the intelligentsia didn't have the Martians to kick around anymore, the poor sheep didn't stand a chance. The hapless descendants of Dolly the sheep will be suffering for this in perpetuity, but at least they will be a living shield between us and the bloodless intellectuals involved in bioengineering...