Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mars Rocks!

By Bill Doughty

“Long live American curiosity.”
Tonight a science advisor called “Curiosity” a “one-ton automobile-size piece of American ingenuity ... sitting on the surface of Mars” that recognizes science, technology, engineering, mathematics -- and innovation.
An artist's conception of Curiosity on Mars.
Scientists, like explorers and sailors of other ages, navigated their ship and it's landing craft to the surface of the red planet, sending the largest and most complex probe rocketing at 13,000 mph to drop its cargo onto the surface of the planet with a gentle touch down.
Some of the world’s attention turned from triumphs like the London Olympics and tragedies like another shooting in the heartland.  Fascinating was the human dimension -- the hugs, handshakes and other heartfelt shows of affection.
Another administrator called it a great adventure and quoted Teddy Roosevelt, father of the U.S. Navy’s Great White Fleet:
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Recognizing the London Olympics occurring simultaneously, a scientist said, “You came back with the gold.”
“This feat you’ve seen tonight is something only the United States could do, and the Rover is made in the USA,” said a panel participant.
“I am forever humbled by the experience,” said another on the panel.  Panelists are unnamed to demonstrate the humility, cooperation and teamwork exemplified by the mission.
The first image from Curiosity on Mars.
"That great things take many people working together is one of the greatest aspects of human existence," said another.
Finally, right before the panel opened up to news media, an administrator said:  “There is no greater inspiration for Middle School students learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics than a mission to Mars.” 

Curiosity is an MUV, if you'll allow the term -- a Mars Utility Vehicle, capable of ranging far and wide.  Follow the Mars Science Laboratory mission at: NASA MSL.

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