|And on the other side of the edge of the universe is .....?|
|The comet on-course for collision with Jupiter.|
What adds to the interest, and tragedy, of his story is how he died. He was working in the Australian desert, studying impact craters and star gazing into the clear outback night skies. While travelling along a narrow, rutted road he encountered another vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.
The other driver pulled hard to the left to avoid a collision, and had Eugene done the same he would be alive today. But being an American, he instinctively pulled to the right. His reflex reaction resulted in his instant death from the resulting head on collision. A sad loss to the world of science, though his wife who was travelling with him did survive her injuries and continues to be a prominent figure in the field to this day.
I was reminded of Eugene when a friend suggested, back in January, that 'The Craters of the Moon', near Taupo, would be well worth a visit. It is part of the whole geo-thermal, sulphur stuff that goes on around there. Now, I'm no scientist, but I was skeptical how anything involving bubbling mud could be anything like the dry surface of the moon, so from the outset my instincts told me this would be a disappointment if the name was anything to go by. In fairness, there was no actual bubbling mud to be seen - you could hear the odd 'plop plop' sound while traversing the board walks, and there were a few holes in the ground, and they must have been as dangerous as sign-posted because no one had dared to retrieve any of the rubbish other visitors had chucked in.
|Expect to be disappointed if you have a literal sort of mind.|
Also, I'm pretty sure the moon isn't covered in messy scrub, in fact I think that vegetation is pretty thin on the ground of the lunar surface. The place was run by volunteers - those retired, self-righteous, bustling sorts who take themselves very seriously - who extracted an excessive amount of my hard-earned money for this tragic attraction. It was really more like wandering around after a bush fire that still had a few hotspots left for the fire service to deal with.
As I trudged in the hot sun I mused how much better things would be if Eugene had ignored his instincts and, to a massively lesser degree on the scale of importance to mankind, I had taken more notice of mine.