Sunday’s landing on Mars

Remember those spunky little rovers that were landed on Mars, sending back pictures of the Red Planet for years on end?  Well, another rover is scheduled to touch down on Mars this Sunday, August 6.

It’s the size of an SUV, with massive digging arms, lasers, and automated laboratories that may settle the question of Martian life once and for all.  The plan is for this 2000 pound vehicle, named “Curiosity,” to be dropped inside a Martian crater that appears to have once held water.  The difficulty of this landing, requiring pin-point precision of all systems, is being described as “seven minutes of terror” for the NASA team trying to pull this off.

If it works, we will greatly expand our knowledge of Mars.  And have some sublime photos of another world.

With Mars mission and rover Curiosity, NASA hunts building blocks of life – The Washington Post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    A long run for a short slide, seems to me. Astrobiology – hrmph!

  • Pete

    A long run for a short slide, seems to me. Astrobiology – hrmph!

  • Pete

    Real long

  • Pete

    Real long

  • WebMonk

    Just checking, Pete. Are you saying there’s no chance of living organisms on other planets?

    While I don’t think Mars is a particularly likely place to find even the simplest of organisms, it is possible (IMO), and so we ought to look for it. I would be much more excited about an equivalent mission to Europa, though I realize the difficulties of such a mission are huge.

    (this is outside my opinion on whether the govt should be doing this sort of thing at all. if they do this sort of thing, I think this sort of mission is a good one, especially since looking for signs of life on Mars is only a part of the mission’s goals)

  • WebMonk

    Just checking, Pete. Are you saying there’s no chance of living organisms on other planets?

    While I don’t think Mars is a particularly likely place to find even the simplest of organisms, it is possible (IMO), and so we ought to look for it. I would be much more excited about an equivalent mission to Europa, though I realize the difficulties of such a mission are huge.

    (this is outside my opinion on whether the govt should be doing this sort of thing at all. if they do this sort of thing, I think this sort of mission is a good one, especially since looking for signs of life on Mars is only a part of the mission’s goals)

  • Pete

    Not in our solar system.

  • Pete

    Not in our solar system.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Webmonk – of course government should be doing this, as it requires very considerable capital outlay, project management etc etc. Private industry, while supporting research, has short-term goals, and space exploration is therefore not high on the agenda.

    Furthermore, I would say that exploring and discovering is part of being human. Of course, as the past has shown, significant financial awards might be reaped, by accident or design. But that cannot be the sole reason for furthering the frontiers of knowledge.

    As to life: I’m not as convinced as Pete, although I doubt. My knowledge of astrobiology is limited, but here’s a question: Was the the “Goldilocks zone” around our sun different a couple of Ga ago?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Webmonk – of course government should be doing this, as it requires very considerable capital outlay, project management etc etc. Private industry, while supporting research, has short-term goals, and space exploration is therefore not high on the agenda.

    Furthermore, I would say that exploring and discovering is part of being human. Of course, as the past has shown, significant financial awards might be reaped, by accident or design. But that cannot be the sole reason for furthering the frontiers of knowledge.

    As to life: I’m not as convinced as Pete, although I doubt. My knowledge of astrobiology is limited, but here’s a question: Was the the “Goldilocks zone” around our sun different a couple of Ga ago?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    While I don’t necessarily object to govt being involved in space at all, that should not preclude the private sector from doing its own thing.

    As for the actual mission above… Watch out for giant walkers with heat rays!!!

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    While I don’t necessarily object to govt being involved in space at all, that should not preclude the private sector from doing its own thing.

    As for the actual mission above… Watch out for giant walkers with heat rays!!!

  • Jon

    Well, it worked, apparently. The rover arrived OK, right on time. That, in my estimation, is likely to be the most sublime part of the mission–getting the huge rover there in one piece. An absolutely fantastic feat of human engineering it was.

    But I read that the experiements it carries can’t identify even the signs of microbial life. It only will test for the presence of the “necessary building blocks for life as we know it.” From this, they would exptrapolate that Mars could possibly have supported, or may yet still be able to in the future give rise to spontaneous life generation. NASA admits that any conclusive tests for actual life on Mars would have to be conducted back here on Earth–this mission won’t be returning any samples to Earth.

    To me, the fact that you have this uber-engineered piece of machinery out there doing these experiements that we intelligent humans designed only goes to show that there must be an intelligent designer behind this universe and the abundant life found in our miniscule part of the vastness of the creation.

  • Jon

    Well, it worked, apparently. The rover arrived OK, right on time. That, in my estimation, is likely to be the most sublime part of the mission–getting the huge rover there in one piece. An absolutely fantastic feat of human engineering it was.

    But I read that the experiements it carries can’t identify even the signs of microbial life. It only will test for the presence of the “necessary building blocks for life as we know it.” From this, they would exptrapolate that Mars could possibly have supported, or may yet still be able to in the future give rise to spontaneous life generation. NASA admits that any conclusive tests for actual life on Mars would have to be conducted back here on Earth–this mission won’t be returning any samples to Earth.

    To me, the fact that you have this uber-engineered piece of machinery out there doing these experiements that we intelligent humans designed only goes to show that there must be an intelligent designer behind this universe and the abundant life found in our miniscule part of the vastness of the creation.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jon (@7) said:

    The fact that you have this uber-engineered piece of machinery out there doing these experiements that we intelligent humans designed only goes to show that there must be an intelligent designer behind this universe…

    I believe in God and Creation, too, but that’s quite the non-sequitur!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jon (@7) said:

    The fact that you have this uber-engineered piece of machinery out there doing these experiements that we intelligent humans designed only goes to show that there must be an intelligent designer behind this universe…

    I believe in God and Creation, too, but that’s quite the non-sequitur!

  • Jon

    Granted, but maybe with a few more steps…must I explain? ;-)

  • Jon

    Granted, but maybe with a few more steps…must I explain? ;-)


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