Posts Tagged ‘NASA’
Seeing the NASA team’s reaction to the news that Curiosity had landed successfully on Mars sent shivers down my spine. Because I shared their joy but also because it proved once again what our species is capable of when at it’s best.
When I saw Curiosity’s first pictures the reality of what thousands of people from around the globe have accomplished became so much more visceral and real. We have landed a semi autonomous car sized robot laboratory capable of searching for life, on another planet.
How long before we stand on that planet? I’m betting not long at all.
On August the 5th at around 10:30pm PDT, NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity should be just about touching down on the red planet. It is the most difficult landing and mission of its type ever attempted. The Curiosity rover itself is the largest and most complex ever built. A robotic laboratory sent from planet Earth to planet Mars to investigate the possibility of life amongst many other tasks.
I’ve been following this mission for a few years now and when I think about the scope, importance and even the majesty of what NASA is attempting. I find it inspiring and uplifting. I see in it the very essence of the human condition; a never-ending desire to see beyond the next scientific horizon. An insatiable curiosity born from an unlimited imagination.
To think our species has evolved to the point where we are sending semi-autonomous robots to a distant planet in such a short period of evolutionary time is simply astounding. We may be still in the infancy of the 21st century but technologically where we stand today even when compared to the 90s is staggering.
Watching the animated simulation of Curiosity’s landing and the complexity of it leads one to contemplate where we could be in another few decades. Landing human beings on Mars? even more ambitious interstellar projects?. Look at the 100 year starship project currently underway as an example of the audacity of our thinking. This project aims to achieve interstellar travel for humankind within 100 years. It is led by an ex astronaut and backed by DARPA, America’s far out military science agency as well the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
How cool would it be?
You can follow Curiosity on Twitter @MarsCuriosity