Aug 6, 2012

Life on Mars: Curiosity takes a look at fourth rock from the sun

At 3.31pm eastern time today on our blue planet, NASA scientists will know whether the most capably equipped rover yet to be sent to the red planet has landed safely.

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

At 3.31pm eastern time today on our blue planet, NASA scientists will read data from Mars that will reveal whether the red planet has a fresh new metallic pock mark on the surface of Gale Crater or that, standing intact, the elaborate machinery of Curiosity has landed safely. It is the latest and by far the most capably equipped Mars rover yet to be sent to the intriguing and incredibly complex surface.

When the sudden Martian night falls, well before the cameras and instruments on Curiosity have been checked out, there will be a bright blue star, and a faint yellow-white companion, in that alien sky.

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11 thoughts on “Life on Mars: Curiosity takes a look at fourth rock from the sun

  1. yjyey eyee

    Nicely said, mate

  2. Danno of Arabia

    “there will be a bright blue star, and a faint yellow-white companion, in that alien sky. Our Earth, and our moon.”

    Wait, what? Earth is a star now?

  3. Gary Scanlan

    My first question is : why are we doing this.? Specifically: why are we spending
    billions of dollars on basically useless posturing when we have so many issues
    (malnutrition, poverty, disease, environmental damage) that this money could help
    allevaite. Why look for “life” elsewhere when we can’t even look after it here?

  4. michael r james


    Just like Venus looks like a bright star (the Morning star) to us on earth, so earth would look the same from Mars.
    Are you serious?
    Quite apart from you philistinism, you may have forgotten the huge boost to environmentalism and eco-awareness from the first pictures sent back from the first satellites showing the blue globe of the earth. Seeing our own, fragile planet in its entirety and realizing we are an “oasis in space”, made at least some people realize that its the only planet we have so we better protect it. Mars may have something to say about our origins–either we have always been the only life in our solar system, or not. Both say something about how precious and rare it is, and how its future could be.

    And of course it has landed on the planet’s surface and begun transmitting images (one of which is on the NYT front page, ie. online).

  5. Ben Sandilands

    With Curiosity wheels down and ready to roll on Mars, a new version of this report has been posted on Plane Talking:

  6. Steve777

    Why go to Mars? Because it’s there. As good a reason as any. All spending is ultimately to satisfy one or more human needs, often needs that are rather trivial or less than meritorious. In due course entrepreneurs may find a way to make money from space. In the meantime I think an intense curiosity on the part of probably nearly all of us to know what’s out there is a pretty good reason.

  7. Moira Smith

    ‘… the electronic pages of the Martian chronicles of the 21st century…’

    A nice little nod to Ray Bradbury, who died recently.

  8. AR

    I, like many I hope, held my breath in the final moments until touchdown. happy travels, Curiosity, send back lotsa postcards.

  9. Stuart Omond


    And they say there’s no global warming!

  10. MJPC

    Brian, interesting article. I watch the live feed from NASA of yesterdays landing , the most exciting event on the earth at that time and something I will never forget.
    If anything, this proves that NASA is composed of some of the most talented people on earth. When one considers what was achieved, all without direct human involvement, it is mind boggling.
    People talk about China challenging the US power. Well, the Chinese will have to pull a lot of rabbits out of their hat to get anywhere the sheer scale, inspiation and just plain admiration yesterdays landing achieved.
    Just one comment though, whilst the Earth is undoubetly seen from Mars (between duststorms), I think the possibility of seeing the moon in the Martian sky will be a limited possibility. After all, when I look at Mars I cannot see the moons Phobos or Deimos as much I would like to.

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