Look at those cavemen go

Look at those cavemen go August 13, 2012

A week ago, I obsessively followed NASA’s successful landing of the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars, but failed to write anything about it here because I couldn’t think of anything to say that was any more insightful or articulate than “whoa” and “wow” and “cool.”

After thinking about this for the past week, I’d like to say this: Whoa. Wow. Cool.

Ed Yong has an excellent collection of Curiosity links.

I particularly like Ross Andersen’s collection of tweets and Alexis Madrigal’s “Powers-of-Ten Visual Explainer.”

And since this has had me humming the song above for the past week, here’s the terrific version from the Flaming Lips, which sounds like its coming from Mars. And here are versions by Robyn Hitchcock, Eurythmics and Barbra Streisand (!). And three more, all from Bowie and all different, from 1980, 2000 and 2005.

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  • I watch us pull off something like the Curiosity landing, and I just keep thinking there’s still hope for the human race. I’m not being sappy or sentimental, either; I mean I really think we might sort ourselves out, if we’re given enough time.

  • connorboone

    “Cavemen always win.”

  • Wingedwyrm

    As Terry Pratchett once said, when a wizard flicks a hand and causes light to appear, he’s just doing what wizard’s do.  But, going from caveman to inventing the lightbulb isn’t just something humans do.

    The sub-atomic chaos of the vaccume is just what reality does.  Emitting the energy that fuels all life and technology on this planet is just what the sun does.  If God exists, miracles are just what zie does.

    This was not just something that something does.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I know you don’t swear often, Fred, but I think this was a perfect candidate for something along the lines of “Fucking awesome!”

  • animus

    Just keep banging the rocks together, guys.

  • Ok, you’re such an expert, you tell us what color it should be.

  • Bruce Baugh
  • There’s also the version done by Jasper Steverlinck ft the Kolacny brothers (which is the one I heard first): 

  • ReverendRef

    I just thought it would be fun to point out that the nickname of the local high school in my town is the Cavemen, and the mascot of the town (and thus the high school) is a giant caveman.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I do want to take this thread to point out again that the annual budget for the entire planetary science division of NASA is $1.9 billion. That covers every probe, orbiter, lander, and space telescope currently in development or up in the air. Obama wants to cut that budget to $1.5 billion. Hopefully, Curiosity will inspire some actual scientific curiosity in our leaders, and they increase it instead of savaging it, but… I’m doubtful that will happen without translating public excitement over the lander into a call for more funding.

    The Mars Science Laboratory cast 2.5 billion over 8 years. That money was spent here on Earth, not on Mars (I only wish I could spend my money on Mars, haha). Fortunately, I live in a district whose representative prizes science – if for no other reason than that his district overlaps with JPL – but please, if your representative is lukewarm towards NASA and the amazing projects they oversee, write to them and express how important these programs are. If you’re unfortunate to live in a district whose representative is actively hostile to science… well, there’s probably not much you can do then, heh.

  • JonathanPelikan

    Of course we will.