Monday, August 6, 2012

Curiosity

Today I'm hijacking my own blog to bring you science news.  Last night/this morning the Mars rover Curiosity landed on Mars.  This is certainly not the first time that we've successfully landed a rover on Mars, but this is by far the largest and most complex one that we've ever sent.  The size of it also dictated a risky and never-before-tried landing sequence.  You can see an animation of the landing sequence below.



Incredible, right?  I watched the live NASA feed of the Entry, Descent and Landing last night via their iPad app.  Live of course meant watching the control room at JPL as the scientist and engineers received telemetry from the rover.  When the mission controller calmly announced touchdown on Mars, the room erupted.  My heart almost burst with excitement and pride.  Pride not just as an American whose NASA organization sent this rover, but pride as a human being that there are those among us who can dream this big and then have the knowledge and skill to make it happen.  I wasn't alive when men landed on the moon, so I don't know what that felt like, but having experienced this unmanned mission live I can only imagine that excitement.  And then, only 15 minutes after landing, Curiosity sent a picture of it's shadow on the surface of Mars.  Incredible.

Curiosity


When thinking about the meaningfulness of this kind of endeavor, I was reminded of a talk given by Carl Sagan about the importance of the lunar landings.  Here's a recording of that.



Thanks for humoring me with my deviation for normal programming, but I felt this was important enough to shine a light on.  Have a great week!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.