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So much in ten years

by Andy Shaner

August 17, 2007 -

When I was home last year for Christmas I came across an article I cut out from the local newspaper years ago. The article was written in either 1997 or 1998. I did not keep any reference to the date but I know it had to be one of those years because the article was discussing results just released from the Mars Pathfinder mission. I brought it back to Tucson with me and I lost track of the article until it re-appeared in my apartment a few days ago.

At the time this article was printed, I was a senior in high school. That particular year was a defining year of sorts in my life because that was the year I started to seriously consider a career in astronomy. Though I do not have a career as an astronomer ahead of me, or a career in any science, I still recognize that year as the starting point of all the events since then that have led me to where I am today. The main idea in the article was that pictures taken by the imager on Pathfinder revealed Mars is more of a butterscotch-colored planet than it is red. In this relatively short article that was probably buried on the 5th page, "Peter Smith of the University of Arizona" is quoted twice. Now, at that time I had no idea who Peter Smith was and I could have cared less about the University of Arizona. I just cut out that article because it had something to do with astronomy.

Here I am, ten years later, sitting at a desk 20 feet from the office of the man from the University of Arizona quoted in a small article in The Wichita Eagle. Weird, huh?