Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another Harbinger Departs into the Great Dark

MSL leaves for Mars. And there it goes.

This is harder than it it looks. The cold equations are unforgiving of any error. The team that beat us into space made their own effort at this launch window with Phobos-Grunt, which remains unable to leave low Earth orbit, unresponsive to command. Russia reports that its launch window has now closed.

Our Tik-Tok emissary is on its way, 251 days to landfall. Meanwhile, Opportunity, survivor of the pair of rovers we landed in 2004, continues to soldier on.

It would be a brave and splendid thing to keep this up. Every year, from now on, we could keep at least one proxy for our civilization active on the Martian surface, if we were willing to pay for it.

It's a good life, if you don't weaken.

1 comment:

Hugh Knight said...

This is absolutely wonderful and thrilling. What a marvelous machine.

But it's still just a machine. Until we place men there, we've done nothing but justify Buzz Aldrin's comments about our loss of nerve.

Space exploration should be about expansion, not just knowledge for the sake of knowledge (although that is a worthy *secondary* goal).