That's the view from behind the Mars rover called Opportunity. Tracks laid across the Martian landscape will be there for centuries. Things like that make me think. You're not surprised.
Centuries ago, Galileo peered at Mars through his telescope and declared that there were canals on the planet. He surmised that they were once waterways that had since dried up, and since, scientists have wondered if there was ever water on Mars. Reasonable men may differ.
So now, we have sent a robot to the planet to roam around and explore, leaving tire trails in its wake. Centuries from now, will astronomers be peering at Mars through their telescopes and wonder if ancient civilizations existed on Mars? Suppose records of life on Earth are destroyed by an asteroid or comet, like in the movies, and there is no record of us sending a probe to explore the planet. Wouldn't that make Galileo look even smarter?
Perhaps we're all just as intelligent as the time allows? Isn't that why we thought our parents were super-human when we were 8, but later saw them as doddering idiots, incapable of managing their own lives, let alone ours? That's the cosmos in microcosm.
Look back at your old high school yearbook photos or photographs of yourself as a youngster. You thought you were hip and attractive, didn't you? Now, you look like an incredible geek with giant hair and giant shoes, pants that are too tight and shirts with more colors than a rainbow. You thought nothing of it then, and might have been proud to march out the door looking like that in the quest for a mate. How foolish you were.
What are the three things that have stood the test of time? Short haircuts, tan pants and white shirts. If you had invested in those in the 1970s and kept them until now, your look would only have changed based on your age. Otherwise, you'd look like everybody else. But you decided that tight designer jeans, bright nylon shirts and tall shoes were the order of the day. You bought them because you were a slave to fashion, and the desire to fit-in superseded your instincts. Maybe you thought you looked silly, or worse, you thought you looked hip. Either one is a path toward obsolescence, and seeing photos of yourself reminds you of how silly you were. Meanwhile, the "geeks" in the science club with their white shirts and tan pants are suddenly practical in your eyes. Strange.
The next time you're wandering the American Eagle store or perusing the racks of Aeropostale, ask yourself how you want to be seen in 20 years. Ask yourself if you'd like to have photos of your "pants on the ground" or your giant t-shirt left on your grandkid's Facebook page. I don't think you will. So, settle for the white shirt, tan pants and black shoes. Some things never make you look silly.
That's what I think about when I see a photo from a robot on Mars.