Go NASA, go NASA, go NASA. What? You didn’t stay up Sunday night to see the Mars Rover land? When I tell you how awesome it was, you’ll be so sorry.I feel like a kid on Christmas morning every time NASA lands another bit of space hardware and they didn’t disappoint me. Those first photos of Curiosity’s wheel took my breath away. I am here to remind you all that this stuff is amazing! It is astounding! A zillion things could have gone awry. They didn’t.
I am a firm believer that we really need to figure out a way to get off this planet before too much longer. Hey, in a swift four to five billion years, the sun is going to burn out, so I don’t think we can get this settled too soon. If we can’t even get to Mars, our chance of a new home in the Goldilocks zone is pretty slim, eh?
I was in front of the TV at 10:30 p.m. sharp Sunday in rapt attention to watch the Mars Rover Curiosity go through its entry ballet. The whole thing is wonderful just from a technology standpoint, but we are talking Mars here, people! Mars. Martians. It’s the planet that has fired some of the best imaginations, from Looney Tunes’ Marvin the Martian to Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles” to even Leo Tolstoy.
Try, if you were born after 1960, to picture a world where robots like the Curiosity were only found after “Star Trek” hit the TV screen. It may seem ho-hum today to have a six-wheeled, multi-armed, drilling chemistry lab now rolling across Mars. I need to remind you, it’s not. It’s fabulous, but it’s not natural. It’s supernatural! Even if it had crashed, the money would have been well spent to learn how to take the next step. And there simply has to be a next time.
It’s going to require something pretty extraordinary to impress the next generation, but I have no doubt, it’s out there. Wait for it…
Jean Gillette loved seeing grown rocket scientists cry with joy. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.