Monday, August 6, 2012

We Put A Car On Mars!

You know, it just catches my breath whenever I think about how we just LANDED A FRIKKIN CAR ON MARS!!! (Well, it's a car-sized rover.) Just look at the size of that thing:

Notice the full-sized grown ass dude/tte in the backgroud? That thing is huge!
It's feats like these that sustain my optimism for humanity's future (it's things like the mass pollution and denial of responsibility that's crushed the lives of people in Ecuador or Bhopal or you know the Holocaust and the Holodomor that sour that optimism. But, we've managed not to kill ourselves so far. Fingers crossed!) Still, come on, pretty effing cool! Here is a just a partial list of things they did to land that $2.5 billion roving precision science lab and state-of-the-art robot: launch it into space; develop heat-shield to enter Martian atmosphere; deploy parachute that can take 65K lbs of force to slow it down from 1000s of MPH to 200 MPH; use a ROCKET PACK to slow it down further; use a "sky-crane" to set it down on the ground; and because of time delay to Mars (14 minutes) all this had to be done automatically. It landed itself. Or rather they (all those systems) landed it on their own.

All this to answer some fundamental questions about our existence in the universe, namely one of the mission goals is to determine if life is or ever was present on Mars. I am of the camp that hopes they find life or its footprint. Kim Stanley Robinson is of the camp that hopes they don't (JK: just something he said in regards to his Mars trilogy at a reading one time).

Anywho, here's the trailer for the Movie that just happened on Mars:


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