Local Expert Applauds Mars Rover Mission
A retired astronomy and physics teacher says the Curiosity's Mars landing and mission holds great promise for mankind.
The successful landing of the Mars Rover Curiosity on Monday has retired astronomy and physics teacher Jim Keating feeling mighty good.
Not just for the triumph of the landing and the thrill of seeing photos the rover has sent back to Earth from the Martian landscape.
But for what it signifies and represents for humans.
"What is exciting is it shows how our species can come up with this idea," he said.
To think of all the vast contingencies necessary to land a robotic buggy in a harsh environment such as Mars' then carry out experiments is truly amazing, he said.
Perhaps more so even than the explorations carried out by Columbus and other explorers.
It teaches them about learning, about thinking, about considering how to prepare for and respond to challenges.
Scientists had to consider almost innumerable what ifs when designing the rover and the mission. What if the heat shield fails? What if the rocket fails?
Young people can do some of the same kind of thinking when planning their missions in life whether it be succeeding in class, making a team, or getting into a certain college.
The mission and its coverage also shows the human species at its best, he said.
These are people looking to move mankind forward.
As the earth's population outstrips its resources humans will have to leave the planet.
These are the early steps in that Odyssey.
The steps unfolded early Monday morning and the mission holds great promise for drama for those who are following it, whether they are scientists, budding scientists — including high school robotics students — and those curious about outer space.
The buggy's mission is to see if Mars ever had the right conditions to support life, according to NASA.