jeudi 11 février 2016

Just science-fiction IX : "Barsoom" (Mars) and the incredible "Blue Star" !

by Jean-Jacques COURTEY, Doctor in Economic Geography, Ph.D

"Barsoom" is the Martian word for Mars, often described by its inhabitants as "Ethdork" (marvelous) and "Telfor" (impressive).
In a reverse way, we are going to study what "Barsoom" is thinking about the "Blue Star", which is situated at a minimum of 56 million kilometers when in opposition. As a matter of fact, the "Blue Star" with its gold and its copper has always been very important for "Barsoom"...and also a subject of great fun for its weird inhabitants.
The fact "Barsoom" has got a magnificent princess, Daria, still waiting for the return of her charming prince of the "Blue Star", is an important point. This true angel is the holy guardian of the "Spinning Disk" seen on some pictures.
What is puzzling "Barsoom" about the "Blue Star" is connected to cosmic logic or ...illogism in the case of this Star.
For instance, its scientists are very often contradicting each other or even themselves, in a desperate search for supremacy : what is counting for them is not really knowledge, but being n°1 as a permanent obsession.

Its peoples are taught from young age to follow blindly their often changing science of doubt...or at the opposite any kind of dogmas, leaving them no room to be able to take a breathe.
They don't even realize it makes them fragile and credulous. It's a pity because they can be nice when they want, and agreable to talk to equally if  their mind is at last free from the competition trap.
Effectively, they are lead to consider life as a perpetual fight for survival, being vaguely promised a paradise they might go in the end (or not in highly numerous cases). Then, they can almost never take it easy and relax, which is harming their everyday life and proficiency.
Even their rich people are not living so well, because of their money angst. About them, they don't use so much crystals for that purpose - especially abundant hematite -, at the difference of "Barsoom".

For several millenaries, their astronomers taught a wrong Solar system, with several missing planets, in spite of Sumerian tablets.
No wander why they couldn't guess the "Ninth one" ! But who cares ?
In addition, their religious authorities used to burn people with a free mind in the past for not following the official dogmas, by naively thinking God would reward them for such acts. Still nowadays, tolerance is far to be the main quality of its inhabitants, even they often exaggeratedly boast about it. The way they consider freedom is strange too, as they can bombastically proclaim it as a mythological idea, just while limiting its effectiveness and reality as ever in the past. They are very unwisely calling for dictatorship, before sweeping for the good old time of liberty. 
Their truths are often paradoxical and stoneheaded. And sometimes, they throw stones at each other, even they are not anymore in the "Stone Age".

They like to control and filter anything and anybody, because of an inner and almost constant fear. Hence, automation is now making them more and more consenting "microservants".
And often when they do that, they are passing by their own life. But as anguished beings who can be easily lost into their pettiness, they don't realize. Most of them think they are not shy, but deep down they can be timid lunatics... and be so blindly obedient also ! With or without necktie, they are not so cool, even wearing the common uniform of blue jeans - torn out or not !
They are calling "Barsoom" the Red Planet, and however they didn't pay attention they made it orange with their funny filters. As a matter of fact, the films they are stucking on the pictures of "Barsoom" are rendering more a twin version of the earthling Kalahari desert, yet populated of bushmen, than the real Mars.

Some of their genial scientists like Lowell, Marconi and Tesla approached some truths about Mars ("Barsoom"). Percival Lowell (1855 - 1916) was over the Moon, when he could take pictures of the 800 Martian canals. Guglielmo Marconi (1874 - 1937) was incredibly happy when he received signals from Mars. And Nikola Telsa (1856 - 1943) was reaching the sky with his receptor - and transmitter !
Let's stress that Telsa was a very strong medium like his mother ! He said himself he was able to receive daily messages from Mars, almost always starting with "Hi, inhabitants of the Blue Star" !
But as for Marconi, almost nobody believed him, even he was using science to reach more repetitive and down-to-earth results.

Nowadays, most people are not at all aware about Tesla's invention - among just thousand of others. And yet they are funnily using it every day for a quite different purpose, by ignoring what it has been at the very beginning : can you guess what ? You don't know, don't you ? Well, it has been transformed in something incredibly ordinary : the toaster they are using, to make grilled bread to go with their coffee or their tea !
From the sky, the still highly understimated Nikola Tesla (American-Austrian from Serb origin) is not probably laughing at that. He could be even annoyed and a bit angry. Him, he knew that the "Blue Star", was the name Mars ("Barsoom") was giving to our Earth - because of its dominant beautiful colour for an outside observer !

From 1950, the perception the inhabitants of the "Blue Star" have got about Cosmos and the planets of Solar system, has totally changed. Before, astronomers like sir John Herschel (1792 - 1871) , whose father discovered Uranus in 1781 and several satellites like Titania and Oberon as well, were able to make impressive inventions to see more clearly the surface of the Moon for example. In 1835, he was able to perceive moving animals, as funny beavers (in fact hares)...or inhabitants with the jumping or flying (?) "Selenians" (due to the lower gravity of the Moon), in the boldest version.
China for instance, knows very well "Chang'e" (its Moon Goddess supervising its present Moon missions), always goes along with "the Jade Hare" !

Anyway novelty is now arising anew. As a matter of fact, since Roswell trauma (1947) and the supposed human abandon of power on Earth against technological supposed gains in term of science progress, human knowledge about Cosmos seemed to drop down. However, "the war of the worlds" was avoided, and the black-out about life in Cosmos didn't matter. Anyhow, this paradoxical situation is swiftly changing, in parallel with science-fiction film-makers or writers who still were the only ones to be allowed to say more.
Perhaps, will we start to remember the powerful super-telescope of sir John Herschel (with achromatic lenses, and not orange filters), to reappreciate our proximate environment ?
And may be the Chinese Moon rover "Yutu" ("Jade Hare") will bring us fresh and unexpected pictures of the Moon with its cameras in visible light, in March 2016 ?

Another important character about alien life, Mars as for him, was certainly the American actor Orson Welles (1915 -1985). On Sunday October 30th., 1938, he created an incredible panick in the USA with his interpretation of "The war of the worlds" of H. G. Wells (1866 - 1946) through a radiophonic program on CBS : his adaptation of this British novel used the form of breaking news, and a displacement of action from Surrey (UK) to Grover Mills (New Jersey, USA).
With time, Welles had very changing appreciations on what happened in America during that night and the day after, even the information of an Earth invasion by Martians was quickly denegated.

And the last one dating from the seventies, could really be both the most puzzling and striking - and very far from an earthling approximate psychology :
"Some people quoted that various panicks due to flying saucers occurred since this program. And a part of them are not at all laughing at it. But most people do...Ladies and gentlemen go on laughing ! And waiting for the day our new masters will choose to announce the Earth conquest is achieved, I am staying as ever your obliged !"
But let's be realistic : if it was so, who could believe anew in Martians now ? May be only people of "Barsoom" in fact !

The Martian issue always puzzled us : when we were in high school, we still remember our teacher of physics chose us to interpret the character of Orson Welles in his play about "The war of the worlds", because our especially deep tune of voice. So we interpreted Welles in front of the public from the area in a very special night. Just at the moment we announced the landing of Martians, a very strong whistling metallic noise was heard in the big gymnasium, some lights went off and a terrible wind started to blow ! We told spectators not to panick or faint.  So most people took that as our special effects, and yet the main part of them were totally independent of our will and direction. Anyhow, it was a success for us as a "younger Orson Welles" !

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