Stuff in Space
If you don’t think the Curiosity rover is awesome, then move along because there’s nothing to see here. Just kidding. I know everyone thinks it’s pretty awesome.
It’s a car-sized, robotic rover that was launched into space in November of 2011, more than seven years after proposals for the project began, and then this 2,000-pound mass of metal traveled 350,000,000 miles to a different planet and successfully landed in a very specific crater on Mars. This wasn’t a Hail Mary pass where everyone had their fingers crossed just hoping it would make it. This was Joe Montana throwing the ball 100+ yards with the intention of hitting a specific blade of grass in the other end zone and succeeding.
If you haven’t seen the pictures Curiosity has been taking (specifically the panorama picture [and shame on you if you haven’t because I posted it on ENA’s Facebook more than a week ago]), then it’s high time you did so, and considering Curiosity has twenty-two months left in its mission duration, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more where those came from.
And if I haven’t sold you on how awesome this is yet, then I suppose all I have left to share is that Curiosity has a laser on-board … What more could you ask for?
Last week I read this story about the International Space Station residents using a toothbrush to solve a serious problem that was causing electrical malfunctions. It really puts things into perspective when you consider there are people in space wearing spacesuits putting together improv spacetools to fix their spacehouse in zero gravity and you’re sitting in a cube trying to decide what you’re going to have for dinner later (like me).
Image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons.