Monday, March 4, 2013

Curiosity Update: Monitoring Mars

If you’ve continued to follow the NASA Curiosity mission to Mars (and given all that’s happened in the world over the past few months, you’re forgiven if not)— your ears might have perked up in late November amid rumblings of an “Earth-shaking” discovery. The possibilities were endless —water? Biological evidence? Little green men? Soon enough, we found out, though, that the answer was. . . nothing. Or more accurately, soil. The rover had been testing soil with its Sample Analysis at Mars tool, and had come up with. . . nothing. Or had it?

After all, this wasn’t really just any soil. It was Martian soil. The whole point of the mission is discovery, experimentation, all borne out of, well, curiosity. Maybe there will be such a breakthrough, and maybe not. Regardless of the outcome, there’s going to be a whole lot of that same “nothing” before we do reach that “something.” Rather than feeling disappointed, perhaps amazement that this process is occurring at all is more accurate. And not only is it occurring, but we’re finding out about it, step by step, through monitoring and analysis equipment, data loggers, and communication via telemetry. The possibilities really are endless.