Monday, August 06, 2012

Forget The Olympics. This Is Exciting!

Congratulations to the Curiosity Mars rover, and to all who worked on her! I watched the landing live on NASA TV (along with about 200,000 other people), and it looks like it went absolutely flawlessly. The jubilation in the control room was utterly infectious.

Appropriately, Cracked just posted a pretty cool piece on 5 reasons you should be excited about Mars today, which I couldn't not link to.

And, in case you haven't seen it yet, here's JPL's "7 minutes of terror" video describing Curiosity's crazyawesome landing procedure. It's impossible not to marvel at the fact that we can actually make something like this work. Go, human technology! Go, humans!


  1. Interesting article, and technically accurate (if "technical" can even be applied in Cracked's case). I have questions about two of the accompanying pictures, though.

    1) Photo labeled "Earth and the moon, from Mars" -- if Earth looks that large from Mars, why doesn't Mars look that big from Earth? I suspect either a magnifying lens was used, or perhaps the picture was taken by a spaceship on the way to Mars. (This is especially noticeable when you see the next picture, of Earth from the moon's surface.)

    2) Photo labeled "A 35 million mile step" -- similar question about the perspective and relative size of the two planets.

    1. Here's some info about the Earth and the moon picture. You can see that it was taken at magnification, though HiRISE imager. I'm not sure about the other picture, but I think it was probably artistically composted.

      The really sad thing is, when it comes to things like technical accuracy, Cracked is probably better than a lot of sites that aren't primarily about humor.