Next week, while we’re all watching NBC, a nuclear-powered, MINI-Cooper-sized super rover will land on Mars. We accurately guided this monster from 200 million miles away (that’s 7.6 million marathons). It requires better accuracy than an Olympic golfer teeing off in London and hitting a hole-in-one in Auckland, New Zealand. It will use a laser to blast rocks, a chemical nose to sniff out the potential for life, and hundreds of other feats of near-magic. Will these discoveries lead us down a path to confirming life on other planets? Wouldn’t that be a good story that might make people care about science?
My friend Andrew breaks it down. He convinced NASA to let him live and work in mission control during the last Mars mission and then wrote a very funny book about it. We’re also throwing a fun party in the East Village next weekend, to watch the Curiosity rover land on Mars in the middle of the night, you should come!