Just got the word from the live web broadcast: The Curiosity rover has safely touched down on Mars. Way to go, NASA! This is a historic moment indeed. The most sophisticated, versatile, and largest rover in space exploration history has begun its mission in earnest, and I couldn’t be happier.
The Shadow of Curiosity. Reminds me of the Monolith from “2001.” Cue the theme music! Photo courtesy of NASA.
God be with the team overseeing this probe’s incredible mission. Curiosity, may you go find and do wondrous things. This is our first step toward larger and better things. May humans join you in person before long.
After the firestorm of creativity, innovation, and boundless optimism that was the Space Age, we have fallen far indeed. If we had taken the suggestions of people like Robert Zubrin and Bill Nye a mere ten or twelve years ago, we could have astronauts treading the surface of Mars right now, expanding our presence in the Solar System while pushing the limits of our technological prowess, and all the while feeding the basic human need for exploration.
Instead we have been puttering around low Earth orbit for a few decades, overlaid with the cacophony of talk about going to Mars without actually committing to it. And here’s Neil DeGrasse Tyson, everyone’s favorite astrophysicist, telling it like it is:
Neil DeGrasse Tyson Interview
We have to remind ourselves that exploring other planets is the next logical step of feeding mankind’s collective need to go, to find, to learn. And if our government doesn’t remember NASA’s role and presence in space exploration, and forgets that America has the most experience and expertise, then stepping on another world is going to be so much more difficult than it needs to be.
If you lose the drive to explore and discover, life is barely worth living anymore. If you don’t feed it, your aspirations start feeding on themselves, like an Ouroboros serpent swallowing its own tail. Now is not the time to give up our lofty goals and designs for the conquest of space, just because politicians with stunted imaginations have such a hard time envisioning the need or value of what NASA has given us.