I simply glad to share this, it just came in via our friends at NASA. The MSL has taken this magnificent and inspiring image on the surface of Mars. This is how its surrounding looks like. Desolate, but eerily picturesque:
The last podcast before I go to Vienna for the European Steampunk Convention. It was recorded under somewhat unusual circumstances on-the-fly while I was trudging through the part of western Germany to which the railway came last.
Today I feel great. Today is one of the days I will look back upon as proof that mankind can achieve great things when we put our hearts, minds and strength to it. The Mars Science Laboratory Mission (MSL) is a prime example of what comes out when we use our talents and (to quote out of context but rather fittingly from Odyssey 2010):
Use them together, use them in peace.
MSL represents the combined efforts of (in no particular order) The USA, the UK, Spain, Finland, Germany, France, Russia and Canada. I am excited about the discoveries, the Curiosity rover will make, I can hardly describe it. This morning, while on the train to work I kept refreshing both my Twitter-stream and the CNN App constantly until the elevating and relieving news of successful touch-down came through.
Today is a day I feel great and I feel extra-great because I am a science-nerd and astronomy enthusiast!
And now for some eye-candy, all images (c) Nasa and in the public domain!
First, schematics of the landing, all went according to plan:
The first picture from Mars by Curiosity:
And mission control in a well deserved moment of joy:
As an astronomy geek, I simply had to share this one, the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory:
Apart from the obvious science and sheer power of technology involved in here, it is also interesting to see how much actual space travel differs from early visions.
Although rockets have been around for centuries, even millenia, they were not seriously considered as methods for space exploration until the early 20th century.
Visionaries like Jules Vernes and H.G. Wells came up with very different solutions to get people to other planets. Jule Verne suggested a moon cannon, Wells and anti-gravity material called cavorite.
Cannons remained the favourite tool for space exploration for a comparatively long time, but thus far, no large object has been brought even into orbit via cannon. Project HARPwas the closest anyone has ever gotten to turning a space cannon into reality. The project has long been abandoned.
Antigravity of course is completely out of the question, since the concept violates our understanding of how gravity works.
In the end, that’s OK, because we have tried, tested and functional rocket technology, and I can hardly wait for the Curiosity Rover to reach Mars.