Giant No. 4 — The Explosive
From St. Nicholas Magazine, 1911.
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”
(The planet Uranus, viewed from Saturn orbit)
Some photographs of Project Pigeon.
This was a project undertaken during World War II. Behavioural Psychologist B.F. Skinner attempted to develop a missile guidance system controlled by pigeons.
Three pigeons, inserted in the compartments of the nose-cone pictured above, were to be trained to recognize a target and peck on the inner surface of the lens in front of them. As long as the pecks were centred, the missile would fly straight; if the missile’s course were to veer off-target, the off-centre pecks would alter trajectory and bring the missile back on course.
The project was cancelled in 1944. “Our problem”, said Skinner, “was no one would take us seriously.”
”[…] My attention was quickly riveted by a large red star close to the distant horizon. As I gazed upon it I felt a spell of overpowering fascination—it was Mars, the god of war… As I gazed at it on that far-gone night it seemed to call across the unthinkable void…”
— Edgar Rice Burroughs
[Earth, seen from Mars, photo taken by the Mars Curiosity Rover]
A very recent impact crater on Mars, formed between July 2010 and May 2012 and captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera in November of 2013.
The crater is approximately 30m in diameter; the explosion threw ejecta up to 15km from the impact site. Areas in which the red Martian dust has been blown away show as blue in the HiRISE image.