The world watched on Monday when the worst named Mars rover, Curiosity, did something amazing. If you have not yet seen the footage SPOILER ALERT they made it. With the world watching NASA scientists and engineers dripped sweat over their computer monitors more than they did on their prom dates. To get to Mars it takes a lot of hard work, but this is no time to rest and play. NASA intends to explore Mars for at least 2 years, I imagine so they can get their monies worth.
It only took a matter of minutes for Curiosity to beam back its first pictures from the surface. I saw it unfold streaming the streaming from Mars on NASA TV when I was at work. The 64x64 bit thumbnail crossed millions of kilometres, bounced off a few radio dishes and straight into the brains of millions of people around the world. It impressed me to no end, but I will be making a call to my telecom provider about how a robot from outer-space has a faster upload time then I do. It takes 14 minutes for a signal to reach Earth from Mars, yet how can I not watch YouTube in the elevator on my phone? It won't be on the National Broadband Network any time soon.
The Curiosity Rover is 2.9m long by 2.7m wide and 2.2m high and comes in a 899kg making it the biggest remote control car on Mars to date (it is about the size of the average car). On board they have all sorts of instruments to take samples of the air and soil for anything that could possibly support life, be it minerals in the soil, water, bacteria, chocolate, nugart, and/or caramel. If they find peanuts they are on the wrong planet.
I am happy they made it. Its good to know that with $6 billion NASA can hit Mars in the face with a robot - the SUR-face. I can barely hit the recycling bin at work with scrunched up balls of paper, so even if your target is the size of a planet, it is still at best 55,000,000 kilometres away. If I was to give $6 billion to anyone for robot droids to be sent to alien planets, NASA would be my first choice. To them its only rocket science. Second choice would be to Grover. Only so they could say "the Mars rover Grover". And then when it crashes down a hill they can say "the Mars rover Grover fell Over". But if it never left the Earth because it failed to pass the field tests in Ireland they can say "the Mars rover Grover fell over on clovers". I'm easily entertained
|Not on Mars.|