NASA’s Perseverance rover landing: Why going to Mars should matter to you

NASA lands Perseverance rover: Why going to Mars should matter to you

mars2020-sky-crane

This artist’s depiction shows a “sky crane” which is strongly lowered on the surface of Mars.

NASA

NASA successfully Land your most advanced rover This week on the surface of another planet. Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover The fifth is a rolling robot sent by the space agency to the Red Planet, and when the mission is over, it will cost about $ 3 billion.

To bring everyday existence to the surface of our own planet with an epidemic Arguably its lowest point Since humans entered the space age many decades ago, it is surprising why we are devoting any resources to sending our best technology to detect cold, dead deserts bathed in radiation.

There are actually many arguments that range from philosophical to more practical. Here are three for those who can’t fathom how reasonable it is to send a Neeri Dunes buggy to carry a small helicopter on a 100 million-mile road trip.

Fragility of our planet

There was some evidence suggesting that our two nearest planet neighbors, Mars and Venus Once livable. Today, they are both Fatal place, Although the dangers of Mars are at least theoretically manageable through technology and perhaps some ambitious landscaping.

The Jazero Crater descended strongly, believed to have once been the site of a large river delta that flowed into a crater lake. Maybe the conditions are right for life, which Rover hopes to find evidence for.

Jejokrator

This Mars reconnaissance orbiter image shows the Jezero Crater Delta region.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / JHU-APL

But something happened. Mars lost much of its atmosphere and it dried up and became the cold, inhuman world we know today.

Somewhere in this past, there may be some lessons and tales of caution for the Earthlings. If our two nearest neighbors were replaced by more friendly quarrels, they would want to know more about who they are today. It is definitely worth more than one visit.

NASA-Earth-Observatory

A green line reflected from oxygen molecules appears on the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA

We envision the Earth as a big floating ball with life, but the reality is more difficult. When viewed from orbit, a green line of glowing oxygen appears above our planet at the edge of our atmosphere. This shining line reveals the true fragility of the habitable area of ​​our planet, which is not the entire planet, but a small bubble on its surface that extends to a height of about a few miles above sea level, and Does not actually include polar regions.

When viewed this way, it almost feels like the bubble can pop easily. It happened on Mars, so maybe it can happen here.

Working hard because they are hard

I John F. I am opposed to Kennedy – doing difficult things because they are tough – speaking of the Apollo project to put humans on the moon. This is not a completely honest justification for spending the bulk of the US budget that was dropped on NASA for getting us there.

The beginning of the space age, the Apollo program and the breathtaking speed with which we went from full-on Earth to hitting golf balls on the moon Military and geopolitical concerns.

It is easy to look back and think that we have wasted a significant portion of our GDP on the Cold War space race that was more about ego and national pride than science and exploration. This is a fair criticism. But whatever the motivation, the results were more than just the flag of bragging rights and the seasickness of the sea.

We have revolutionized life on Earth by going into space.

It is true that these are too many to list, so think of just one: what made the Soviet bucket’s successful launch of the bolt named Spikenik what started terrible (for Americans) and eventually created our modern lifestyle that thousands of successor satellites. Depends on Our information, images, transactions and communication around the world at light speed.

What began as technological muscle resilience among global powers has changed countless aspects of the daily lives of billions of humans.

The discovery of Mars involves overcoming countless challenges through engineering and innovation, not to mention persistence and ingenuity. What we learn from the successes and failures in facing those challenges may lead to the next revolution which is beyond making life anything in 2071 that we can imagine right now.

Planetarium

Elon Musk aims to establish a city on Mars.

SpaceX

Elon Musk has a vision

You have already heard this. Want one of the richest friends in history, Elon Musk Build a city on mars And make humans a “multiplier” species or something like that. Part of this argument is that the Earth is not nearly as safe and secure as it appears. Being affected by massive solar flares, a comet, nuclear destruction, environmental collapse, and perhaps catastrophe, we all thought there was a lot of potential, so this is a backup plan.

This is the pessimistic version of the case that is the easiest to debate. But we rarely hear the other side of this vision arguing, which is consistent with Star Trek ethics: “boldly …”

It can also be difficult to talk about setting up shop on Mars these days because the words I can use to describe such activity are appropriately forbidden – colonization, settling and occupation. Words like. It is true that the history of human expansion is horrifying, and Musk stopped me from selling a new kind of colonialism out of fear of an uncertain future.

But I don’t think that’s the right way to look at it, and that’s not how the people behind perseverance think about it. Mission goals are strictly about scientific discovery and technical demonstration. So much so that some surprises of what is actually being accomplished can be lost.

Think about how you have evolved, as a person, every time you visit a new place or experience something new. Your first day of school, first time outside your city or state, first plane ride, first time abroad, etc.

I remember waking up before dawn on a special jet-lagged morning in my twenties in a dirt cheap hostel in Thailand and walking into a small neighborhood in Bangkok. There was something unfamiliar around every corner: words I could not understand, things that were being sold as food, I never thought of food as food, people doing activities, I could not identify between exercise or prayer or anything.

It became clear that what I knew in the morning knew little about the wider world. When I finally die or get uploaded to the cloud, I expect it to be a little less ignorant, but the same basic statement is certainly still true.

Going to Mars and beyond can be an eye-opening experience for humanity as a species. Becoming multiplenatory is not about having a backup plan, it can be about evolving and getting better, smarter and a little ignorant about the universe and our place in it.

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