Friday, May 30, 2008

Phoenix Mars Lander: a Cultural First

"No One Toys With NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander " (May 30, 2008)

"In one scene during the 1995 feature film "Apollo 13," Tom Hanks, as astronaut James Lovell, demonstrates to his son how the Apollo lunar module flies to a landing on the Moon using a toy model of the lander....

"Unlike the Apollo module or earlier Mars landers however, there are no toy or model versions of Phoenix available to parents, teachers, children or collectors to recreate the spacecraft's dramatic entry, descent and landing that was described by the mission's officials as 'seven minutes of terror.'

"Phoenix, as only the sixth lander to safely touch down on the surface, is the only one that hasn't been packaged for sale as a toy or model kit...."

Perhaps this signals a massive shift in the America psychosocial subconscious gestalt away from expressions of expansionistic prevelances.

Or, maybe no toy manufacturers are making Phoenix toys because " 'Phoenix doesn't have wheels, and isn't coming out of the high drama of two Mars mission failures as [the rovers] did,' he [the lander's flight systems engineer] said."

I vote for the "doesn't have wheels" explanation.

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