Memorials at "Mars on Earth"

Keith's note: Astronaut Leroy Chiao, Matt Reyes, myself, and a bunch of Inuit kids built this inuksuk memorial to the Challenger crew in 2007 on Devon Island. It stands next to one built to honor Columbia's crew in 2003. An inuit boy, Joseph Atchealak, is holding a Challenger Center banner in front of the Challenger inukshuk. Joseph and his family regularly subsist by eating animals that his father kills on the polar ice - yet Joseph surfs the web and knows all about outer space -- Indeed, he kept touching Leroy Chiao as if Leroy was magical because he flew in space. I saw the same reaction by Sherpas in Nepal when they met Scott Parazynski.

What do these people know - and place value in - that we have forgotten or no longer care about?

Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal 20 July 2003: Arctic Memorials and Starship Yearnings

"I asked Joe Amaraulik if anyone had ever figured out how long these structures would last. He said he wasn't sure if they had been dated but that there were some that had been in place for many centuries. As for how long this one, which we had just built, would last, Joe (a man of few, but well-chosen words) said "forever". In other words - the next ice age."

Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal - 18 July 2007: Ancient Memorials for Modern Space Explorers

"I placed [Dick Scobee's] card in the container, sealed it up and placed it at the base of the inukshuk. Most of the Inuit kids remembered the loss of Columbia. None of them remembered the loss of Challenger since it had happened a decade or more before their birth. So, I explained each and every item to them - and passed the business card and lapel pin around for them to see."

NASA Haughton-Mars Project Space Shuttle Columbia Inukshuk Memorials

"It is our hope that the Columbia Inukshuks on Devon Island will help bring peace to all those who continue to miss these seven astronauts, and will help inspire and guide future generations of space explorers who will journey to the Moon, Mars and Beyond."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on January 24, 2011 12:00 AM.

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