For those of you who don’t know, Curiosity reached Mars safely yesterday. And it’s not your regular bike-sized Mars rover, either.
Curiosity weighs 2,000 pounds. It’s as large as a car, in other words.
In fact, Curiosity is the largest thing humans have yet landed on Mars.
At the same time Olympic athletes are achieving the incredible with their bodies, American scientists and engineers are achieving the incredible with their minds.
Our times are full of uncertainty; so uncertain that even the Olympics have been plagued by one controversy after enough. Doping scandals. Political scandals. Fixing scandals.
Let’s take a moment, then, and allow ourselves to be awed by something very certain and impervious to scandal: the sheer perfection of mechanical engineering, computer programming, astrophysical knowledge, and human ambition that brought Curiosity safely to the surface of Mars.
Do you know what getting Curiosity safely to Mars was like? It was like shooting an arrow in London and hitting a bullseye in Japan with your eyes closed and standing on one leg.
To see what I mean, I hope you’ll take five minutes of your time and watch this incredible video from NASA. It focuses on the “7 Minutes of Terror” during which the fate of Curiosity rested on decisions scientists and engineers made here on Earth:
My prayers are with the Curiosity and its team. I wish them the best of luck with their 2-year-long mission. May it pave the way for future exploration.