NASA plans to send several robots to Mars over the next decade. This includes a plan to collect a sample and send it back to Earth. I confess, I am a nut about the Mars missions. Even though I know the odds that we’ll find life there are pretty remote, the Red Planet still has plenty of secrets to tell us. How did it become the way it is? Could it have been nudged some time in the past to be more like the Earth? What hit it that left that huge scar on it?
Plus, there’s just the sheer technological triumph of a landing a robot on another planet. I can’t think of any science fiction writers who thought of landing schemes like the sky crane or the airbag, but NASA engineers have come up with some creative solutions to these daunting problems.
I love this stuff. Every kid should watch these missions. What could be more inspiring?