It wasn’t the first alien craft to land on the planet Mars. But this, the fourth successful rover, was extra special. Because they, the geniuses at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), had finally gotten all the kinks worked out and landed a really high tech vehicle in a crater on Mars. Now they are looking for evidence of water on the planet.
Mars, mind you. No biggy, right? It’s only about 156 million miles from Earth. Only took 8 1/2 months to get there. What’s the big deal, in this Internet age?
A lot, actually. I remember my mother picking me up early from kindergarten back in July of 1969. I was only 6 years old at the time, watching the lunar landing in black and white on the television. We sat mesmerized for hours listening to Walter Cronkite and the sound of Neil Armstrong’s voice saying, “One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind,” ringing in our heads.
But Mars? Once again, I remember watching TV as a kid, but this time it was the animated show “The Jetsons.” That’s about as much as I know about outer space. I had to consult my young, resident astronomy expert to find out more details about all the current Mars hoopla.
What all these incredible engineers, astronauts and experts are doing in outer space as I write this editorial amazes me.
“So what if they find water?” I asked. “What then?”
My son looked at me with utter disbelief. “It’d be a big deal,” he said as he rolled his eyes.
I actually do get it. It would be a “big deal” to know that water, aka life, once existed on Mars. We might actually get to finally find out (as Frank Sinatra famously sang) “what spring is like on a Jupiter and Mars.”
Thanks, NASA! I’d stay up late for you all any time.