“Much of the government’s space project is being worked out at what is locally called the jpl, Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory,” Herbert W. Armstrong appraised co-workers in a letter dated Feb. 3, 1964.
“The president of Caltech lives only three doors from Mrs. Armstrong and me, but we don’t know one another. Our spheres of interest run in opposite directions. In fact, the present expansion program of Caltech is going to take our home away from us, and we expect to be paid only half of what its value should be.”
jpl was formed in 1936 and facilities constructed in Pasadena, where it is managed by the California Institute of Technology under the direction of nasa. Its Space Flight Operations Facility has been designated by the government as a National Historic Landmark.
Funded by billions of U.S. tax dollars, nasa’s exploration in the recent past has placed men on the moon, and satellites, probes, modules, landing craft, shuttles and spectacularly powerful telescopes like Hubble and Keplar throughout our solar system, providing knowledge over time, through picture and video, of an ever expanding universe of undiscovered galaxies, solar systems and planets.
“This morning at 5:12 a.m. (Pacific Daylight Time), I sat in our Ambassador Auditorium here in Pasadena, looking in on Mission Control headquarters, located only walking distance away, as scientists manipulated at jlp the safe landing of Viking 1 on Mars” (co-worker letter, July 20, 1976).
This particular mission to the red planet was undertaken by Viking 1 and, weeks later, Viking 2. Both were constructed with orbiter and lander connected throughout the almost year of travel time it took them to reach projected orbit.
These craft captured captivating images of the surface of the famed planet, then separated as planned, ensuring continued pictures from the orbiters and soft landing for the landers.
“The jlp scientists had cooperated with Ambassador College so that everything at Mission Control, as the scientists maneuvered the Mars landing, was shown on a large screen in our auditorium. We had opened the auditorium to the public. A thousand or more were there” (ibid).
“Enthusiastic applause, filling the auditorium, greeted the landing,” Mr. Armstrong continued. “Very soon, just before 6 a.m., the first strip of two spectacular pictures arrived. We at the Ambassador Auditorium were looking in, just as if we were in Mission Control ourselves. Dr. Thomas Mutch, geology professor and leader of the team of scientists in the Mission Control room, gave a cry of delight as the first strip of the first picture came through.”
The images were high resolution for the mid 1970s. The scientific community was captivated by the pictures taken from a vantage point just a few feet above the Martian surface.
As the second image was shown on the screen at the auditorium, the audience gazed at a red planet horizon which looked, to Mr. Armstrong’s recollection, “as a sandy desert littered with rocks—from very minute size up to perhaps a foot or more in diameter.”
The Viking Orbiter 1 captured 360-degree pictures including the 3,000-km-long, 8-km-deep Valles Marineris canyon expanse. Both orbiters thermally mapped Mars and measured its water vapor, obtained and verified soil samples, and checked wind and temperature, which ranged from 150 to 250 K.
Dust storms and changes in pressure, along with gases across Mars’s polar caps, added to nasa’s mission file verification that “The Viking missions revealed further details of volcanoes, lava plains, huge canyons, and the effects of wind and water. Analysis of the soils at the landing sites showed them to be rich in iron, but devoid of any signs of life.”
Mr. Armstrong wasn’t surprised at the images or findings of the Viking mission to Mars. In fact, he expected them! For he knew, as revealed from the pages of the Bible, that such planets as Mars are uninhabitable, crusty, barren tracts of land, decomposed and useless (Genesis 1:2). Too few today conceive of the God-revealed facts, rather blindly devoting their lives to futile speculation and baseless hypothesis of the origin, sustenance and future of the universe surrounding planet Earth.
However fascinating, noble and sincere the efforts before and after Viking’s mission to Mars, their spellbinding pictures continue to verify the universal wisdom and word of the Creator (Genesis 1:1).
Speaking of the world to come, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Hebrews, “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak” (Hebrews 2:5).
The world’s best-selling but least-read history records three worlds. First, a world that extended from the first man created, Adam, to builder of the great ark, Noah. Second, today’s lawless world, held captive. And finally, the prophesied Millennium, which Mr. Armstrong termed the wonderful World Tomorrow in his booklet. Request your free copy.
In addition, the Bible describes three heavens. Earth’s atmosphere, the outer space, and the heaven where God’s throne is.
Paul continues by referencing “the world to come,” then asks, “What is man, that thou [God] art mindful of him? … Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he [God] put all in subjection under him [man], he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him” (Hebrews 2:6-8).
The Moffatt Bible translates “all things” as “the universe,” which, so defined, encompasses all that God has created. This revealed truth outlines mankind’s incredible human potential. The resurrected Jesus, the “firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29), is preparing our way. He sustains this entire creation of the universe via the power of His word (Hebrews 1:2-3).
Two years after the Viking mission, Mr. Armstrong completed his book The Incredible Human Potential, in which he recalled, “I personally, in communication with the jpl scientists, arrived at the auditorium about 4:50 a.m. The first pictures began coming in on the large motion picture screen at about 5:10 a.m. … It had been planned to try to land the unmanned spacecraft Viking on Mars on the 200th anniversary of the United States as a nation.”
“It’s positively astounding! It has remained undiscovered by science! No religion has revealed it! Higher education has never taught it! Is it possible the whole world has been deceived—regarding the awesome purpose of human life—about the way to world peace and how it will come?” asked the unofficial ambassador for world peace, friend of jpl-nasa’s space program. “And could it be true that the real gospel message Christ brought from heaven revealed this missing dimension—but was suppressed?”
Request this vital book for, as Mr. Armstrong wrote, “This is the eye-opening story of the real gospel message of Jesus Christ—of how this missing dimension was withheld, and the whole world deceived.” ▪