Sometimes I just get sidetracked and other times I get overwhelmed - and now I'm both. I was working on the next post when the December issue of the National Geographic arrived, with the riveting piece by John Updike on "Visions of Mars". The article begins "Mars has long exerted a pull on the human imagination." It most certainly has, and the writing and the images in the article underscore this.(see https://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/12/planet-mars/updike-text). This set me off on a diversionary quest to the sources of some of these extraordinary images, the art of a planet and the natural art of sand. NASA's site has, of course, a vast collection of imagery from the surface and from orbit, but then I discovered that the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, a partner of NASA, has put up a collection of high-resolution Mars images - visit https://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/ and chances are you'll get lost, as I did for a long time, in wonder and fascination. It's not that I haven't been lost in wonder before at data from so far away from home (I'm of a certain age - I still find the "small step for mankind" moment a mind-boggling event); but the wonder just doesn't go away (see earlier post on Phoenix and its collection of sand grains). So, simply feast your eyes and imagination on some samples and yes, feel free to just become lost for a while. And, if you visit the National Geographic site, you will also see a collection of wallpaper images - Patterns in Nature: Sand - our planet is pretty extraordinary, too.