“This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery,” said Opportunity project manager John Callas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “To the right of center you can see the rim of Endeavor Crater rising in the distance. Just to the left of that, rover tracks begin their descent from over the horizon and weave their way down to geologic features that our scientists wanted to examine up close. And to the far right and left are the bottom of Perseverance Valley and the floor of Endeavour crater, pristine and unexplored, waiting for visits from future explorers.”
Posts tagged Mars
A few weeks ago, I was trying to call Cuba. I got an error message—which, okay, international telephone codes are long and my fingers are clumsy—but the phone oddly started dialing again before I could hang up. A voice answered. It had a British accent and it was reading: “…the moon was shining brightly. The Martians had taken away the excavating-machine…” Apparently, I had somehow called into an audiobook of The War of the Worlds. Suspicious of my clumsy fingers, I double-checked the number. It was correct (weird), but I tried the number again, figuring that at worst, I’d learn what happened after the Martians took away the excavating machine. This time, I got the initial error message and the call disconnected. No Martians.
Is this the beginning of a new ‘Mars debt’ industry?
Beyond the financial hurdles, the centre’s determination to fund offbeat projects such as the Foundation of Affordable Mysticism - an association of artists and technologists exploring new modes of artistic expression - has prompted some critics to question whether Starlab is a group of pranksters masquerading as serious scientists. Time machines and teleportation modules may have great implications in the deep future but few realistic applications in the here and now.
India created history on Wednesday, becoming the first country to successfully get a spacecraft into the Martian orbit on its maiden attempt. Indian Space Research Organisation’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft started orbiting the red planet at 7.47am, but it was only 12 minutes later – because of a time delay in radio signals travelling the 680 million km – that scientists at Isro Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network in Bangalore, could erupt in joy as Prime Minister Narendra Modi stood a happy witness.
A trip to Mars, with its invisible technology and vast, unprecedented distance from home, could estrange or alienate a crew to an unprecedented degree. Such a distance could produce an entirely new kind of boredom, impossible to imagine on Earth.