Normally, we geek out and wrap up the weekend on Sunday, but do to the EPIC geek news that is the Mars Rover landing on the Mars Planet (not to be confused with the Mars Sailor Scout) we’ll be wrapping up the Geekend Review tonight instead. This has nothing to do with me being overwhelmed with outside activities and has no relation to the masked vigilante who’s been spotted cleaning up the mean Tulsa streets lately. I really just wanted to wait and report on the Rover. So stop assuming I’m a vigilante hero, because clearly I’m just not that kind of guy. Mars Rover.
Last night, the most advanced Rover to-date finished it’s 36-week journey to the red planet. The one-ton unit touched down in a crater last night, early Monday morning depending on your time-zone, on the Martian surface to begin it’s two-year expedition across the fourth planet from our Sun. People around the world anxiously awaited the news of it’s touchdown as it descended from miles above after crossing enormous amounts of open space to finish it’s journey. One scientist described the final phase of it’s landing on NPR as “Rover on a rope…”. Talking about it’s bungee like descent.
The Rover, which is the size of a car and is nuclear powered, was lowered by a rope from a rocket which had previously been descending via parachute. The success of the mission was remarkable, since there is a 13 minute delay for signals from Mars to reach earth, scientist had to hope their calculations were right and their programming accurate because the 2-billion-dollar project was a hail Mary of a pass once set into motion (reacting 13 minutes too late, 26 minutes when you factor in that our signal would then have to return to mars, and excluding human delay, would have been disastrous).
Curiosity has sent images back already. Like this fun little photo to the left showing it’s shadow. Though it is the size of a car it reminds me of Wall-E, or the scene from the first Transformers that showed us what happened to the first attempt at sending a Rover to Mars. This is a remarkable feat of course. Curiosity will spend the next few days going through systems checks and sending back nothing more than images from Gale Crater, the landing site. Hope is to find signs of organic compounds, the third thing needed to create life. Mars already has or has had the other two, heat/light and water.
The first image sent back to us here on earth was that of it’s own wheel, verifying a safe landing on the surface. Hopefully we’ll see thousands more. And find organic compounds or the secrets to the universe. Or maybe space dinosaur bones! Only time will tell science nerds. We will wait, anxious as ever, as the weeks and months and years unfold. 22 years ago, the internet was really just becoming accessible, and now everyone can access it from handheld devices in their pockets. With this step who knows how far we can travel over the next 22-years. Maybe we’ll be on our own 36-week journey?
There have been other mild events in the geek world, and we may touch on them in another review. But the geekiest news to come out of this solar system has to have been the landing of curiosity and it took half a year to do, so this Geekend Review is dedicated to the awesome people who have dedicate so much of their time into showing us what humans are capable of when we work together.
To continue discussing this this please comment below or message me directly on twitter @werewolforigin. Thank You, and see you next Geekend.