In case you haven’t heard, late Sunday night (or early Monday morning depending on where you live) NASA’s Mars Rover called the Curiosity landed on freaking Mars. In case you don’t know, that’s like, really far away. So far that it took nearly a year for the thing to get there. It had just been flying around in space since November of last year up until two nights ago.
The Rover had to go through a complex landing procedure which was nicknamed, The Seven Minutes of Terror. I know that sounds like a terrible, low-budget, horror film, but it’s actually pretty awesome. You see, it had to go from traveling at 13,000 mph to zero… within seven minutes. First, it released a parachute to slow itself down, then it detached itself from the parachute and flew down to the surface with rockets. Yeah, rockets. And once it was about 20 meters from the surface, the rover was lowered down with a giant crane mechanism so that it could land safely and then the rocket-thing flew away and crashed someplace else on the planet. Sounds pretty extreme, right? Well, it was. It was crazy, and it costed over 2 billion dollars, but it worked.
The Curiosity‘s mission is to study the climate and geology, look for minerals and radiation, but most importantly to look for signs that there may have been life on Mars. Now, this isn’t the first rover we’ve sent to Mars, but the Curiosity is certainly a way more advanced piece of technology than anything that’s ever come before it. Which brings me to my point, can you guess where this thing was made? That’s right, in the U.S.A.
From the U.S. to the world, we give you… Mars!
U.S. technology can easily be considered the best in the world. It’s our groups, like NASA, that put a man on the moon, that put the Curiosity on Mars and that will eventually put people on Mars. That’s right, NASA has stated that they plan to have people on the red planet by the 2030s. That’s only 20 years away. 20 years from now, we’ll be on Mars. People will remember that day the same way people remember the moon landing. And it’ll all be thanks to American innovation. It was America that led the space race during the Cold War, and we’re still on top of our game. And it doesn’t stop at NASA…
You see, NASA is an agency of the government. They’re not some privately-owned business that any good ol’ American could start. They’re the government, they have government funding. There’s no way anyone else could have the resources to go to space, right? Well… take a look at SpaceX’s Dragon.
SpaceX is an American-owned company, not the government. And they go to space. In fact, the contraption up there, called the Dragon (Awesome name, right?) made history 3 months ago by being the first privately owned vehicle to send cargo to the International Space Station. That’s right, the space station. In space.
So, American innovation, technology and manufacturing have been on top of the space game in the past few months, and forever really. It’s this country’s minds that will usher in a new age of space technology, discovery and travel. I’m anxious for 2030, how about you guys?