Thursday, June 16, 2016

Be A Martian!

Mars Explorers Wanted“ title=
Mars needs YOU! In the future, Mars will need all kinds of explorers, farmers, surveyors, teachers… but most of all YOU! Join us on the Journey to Mars as we explore with robots and send humans there one day. Download a Mars poster that speaks to you. Be an explorer!

Mars Explorers Wanted“ title=

Explorers Wanted on the Journey to Mars

Hike the solar system's largest canyon, Valles Marineris on Mars, where you can catch blue sunsets in the twilight, and see the two moons of Mars (Phobos and Deimos) in the night sky.

Mars Explorers Wanted“ title=

Work the Night Shift on Martian Moon Phobos

Night owls welcome! If you lived on Mars' moon Phobos, you'd have an office with a view, mining for resources with Mars in the night sky. Settlers below on Mars would see Phobos rise and set not once, but twice in one day!

Mars Explorers Wanted“ title=

Farmers Wanted for Survival on Mars

Got a green thumb? This one's for you! In space, you can grow tomatoes, lettuce, peas, and radishes just like you would find in your summer garden. New ways of growing fresh food will be needed to keep brave explorers alive.

Mars Explorers Wanted“ title=

Surveyors Wanted to Explore Mars and its Moons

Have you ever asked the question, what is out there? So have we! That curiosity leads us to explore new places like Mars and its moons, Phobos and Deimos. Just what lies beyond the next valley, canyon, crater, or hill is something we want to discover with rovers and with humans one day too.

Mars Explorers Wanted“ title=

Teach on Mars and its Moons

Learning is out of this world! Learning can take you places you've never dreamed of, including Mars and its two moons, Phobos and Deimos. No matter where we live, we can always learn something new, especially with teacher-heroes who guide us on our path, daring us to dream and grow!

Mars Explorers Wanted“ title=

Technicians Wanted to Engineer our Future on Mars

People with special talents will always be in demand for our Journey To Mars. Whether repairing an antenna in the extreme environment of Mars, or setting up an outpost on the moon Phobos, having the skills and desire to dare mighty things is all you need.

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Assembly Required to Build Our Future on Mars and its Moons

Are you someone who can put things together, solving challenges to ensure survival? Dare to forge our future with space-age tools - build spaceships to carry us to Mars and back, and habitats to protect us while we're there.

Mars Explorers Wanted“ title=

We Need You

We need many things for our Journey To Mars,
but one key piece is YOU!

Check out the feature at NASA Mars Exploration.

Will we actually see the colonization of Mars in our lifetime?

If human exploration and colonization of Mars is a subject that interests you, I highly recommend Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy - consisting of Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars. In this awesome work of science fiction, Robinson delves into the technological, social and political aspects in a realistic future of Martian colonization and terraforming. You'll find no light-sabres or warp drives in these books... just down-to-earth, scientifically-feasible sci-fi!!!

Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy

Monday, June 06, 2016

D-Day - June 6, 1944




SAINTE MERE EGLISE, France -- It was the middle of the night and the town of Sainte Mere Eglise was on fire. Occupied by the Germans since June 18, 1940, the town had survived several allied air raids.

A stray incendiary bomb from one of those raids had set a building near the town square on fire and it was spreading. The townspeople formed a chain to ferry water from the pump in the town square to the fire.

At about 1:30 a.m. that day -- June 6, 1944 -- the sky filled with hundreds of American paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division. Well lit by the flames beneath them, the paratroopers were easy targets for the startled German soldiers on the ground. One of those paratroopers was Pvt. John Steele of F Company, 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Steele was already a combat veteran, with combat jumps into Italy and Sicily under his belt prior to D-Day.

During his landing, Steele's parachute became caught in the steeple of the church in the middle of the town square. Shot through the foot, Steele hung there for two hours pretending to be dead before the Germans noticed him and cut him down.

"There were some paratroopers who landed nearby, but they didn't help him because they thought he was dead. The Germans thought he was dead also, but they wanted whatever papers he had on him and that is when they discovered that he was alive," said Patrick Bunel, a curator at the Airborne Museum here.

The German soldiers took him prisoner, but Steele was able to escape once tanks that had landed at Utah beach arrived. At approximately 4:30 a.m. Sainte Mere Eglise became the first town in France to be liberated. The fighting around the town continued until June 7, when the Germans were finally pushed back. Steele was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and the Purple Heart for his actions during the invasion.

Today a uniformed mannequin hangs from a parachute and rigging on the steeple, in honor of Steele (who actually landed in back of the church), his fateful jump and the liberation of the town below.

"When I first saw it (the mannequin), I didn't know that it had actually happened," said Pfc. Cory Peppeard of the 230th Military Police Company, 18th Military Police Brigade, one of hundreds of U.S. servicemembers here to support this week's 65th anniversary commemoration of D-Day. "It's pretty impressive that he was able to survive that."

Sainte Mere Eglise secured Steele a place in history as a Soldier in the division that helped to liberate the town, but also as the paratrooper who landed on the church. It was a scene that would be recreated 18 years later in the 1962 movie, "The Longest Day," in which Steele was portrayed by the actor Red Buttons.

Steele regularly visited here before his death in 1969 from cancer. But he was not the only American the town remembers.

Their actions here have also been captured in two stained glass windows in the church. One was designed in 1945 by a local artist named Paul Renaud, who was 14 years old when the paratroopers landed and 16 years old when he drew the sketch for a window made by Gabriel Loire in the village of Chartres.

It depicts the Virgin Mary and child above a burning Sainte Mere Eglise with paratroopers and planes around her. An inscription below the figures reads: "This stained glass was completed with the participation of Paul Renaud and Sainte Mere, for the memory of those who, with their courage and sacrifice, liberated Sainte Mere Eglise and France".

"My father worked with the parish to come up with an idea to replace the original window, which had been destroyed," said Henri Jean Renaud, whose father was the mayor of Saint Mere Eglise at the time. Renaud was 10 years old when the paratroopers landed.

A second window depicts Saint Michael, the patron saint of paratroopers. The 82nd Airborne Division, the lion of Normandy, the Sainte Mere Eglise insignia, and symbols for each of the combat jumps made by the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II are also represented in the window.

The idea for the window began at the 25th anniversary of the jump and was donated by the veterans of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, in 1972. The same artist that made the first window also made the second. The inscription at the bottom reads: "To the memory of those who through their sacrifice liberated Sainte Mere Eglise."

While the mannequin and windows are but inanimate objects, Renaud said, they help keep the memory of very real heroes alive.

"We are really very devoted to the veterans," said Renaud. "For me, when they landed, they were like heroes in a movie. Now they are brothers."

Check out the article at The Official Home Page of the United States Army.


Be sure to visit the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana for some exciting events going on today!

If you are interested in accurate D-Day and WWII history, I highly recommend the following books by Stephen Ambrose. He has written other WWII books, but those four are by far the most notable and my favorites:

The HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, inspired by Stephen Ambrose's book by the same title, is a must-see for any WWII history buff. I have found the series to be one of the most historically accurate movies made on the topic... I highly recommend checking it out!

There are MANY movies made in the WWII setting, check out World War II on Film at and the Wikipedia List of WWII Films.