It landed in one piece and is operational.
[sigh of relief]
Well done, NASA engineers.
NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission set down a large mobile laboratory, the rover Curiosity, using precision-landing technology that makes many of Mars’ most intriguing regions viable destinations for the first time. During the 23 months after landing, Curiosity will analyze dozens of samples drilled from rocks or scooped from the ground as it explores with greater range than any previous Mars rover.
Its mission? To find life. Yes, life that may have existed on the Red Planet. In a nod to Orsen Wells, the rover will analyze samples scooped from the soil and drilled from rocks. The record of the planet’s climate and geology is written in the rocks and soil – in their formation, structure, and chemical composition. The rover’s onboard laboratory will study rocks, soils, and the local geologic setting in order to detect chemical building blocks of life (carbon formations) on Mars and will assess what the martian environment was like in the past.
Scientists hope that they will discover that life has [had] existed on the Red Planet. Imagine that: life on Mars!
Here’s the curious part of the story and one that, tangentially, I find interesting: if life forms are discovered there [fossilized or living] how will this discovery affect the religious community? The fundamentalists? After all, the Bible sez…
I’m betting that, as I type this, there are biblical apologists typing away in the basements of houses of worship all across the globe, creating justifications for bilateral life in our solar system. Which scriptural texts will be twisted into duplicity? Which canonical truths will be bent to justify life beyond our planet?
Science seems to always be the nemesis of religion and, if things go as anticipated by the NASA scientists, Curiosity may prove to be more than a thorn in the side of the church. It may be prove to be the death knell.