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Something Wonderful: Perseverance Rover’s Descent and Touchdown on Mars

This puts me in mind of an item I wrote for the first Rover to land on Mars some 17 odd years ago:  On First Looking Out of JPL’s Rover @ AMERICAN DIGEST

January 4, 2004

First moments of viewing first mosaic from Mars

Much have I imagined the arcing vaults of space,
And many fiery launches and cold orbits seen;
Round the darksided moon have I been
And raised a flag above Tranquility base.
Oft on one Red Planet would I place
Dreams of deep-brow’d Bradbury’s Morning Green
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I saw Curiosity gaze upon our brother’s face:
Then felt I like some sentinel in strange skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like those at JPL, when the Curiosity’s eyes
Delivered them an image through the stars,
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise–
“All green” upon the dusty plains of Mars.

(Apologies to Keats. who would understand)

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Keats Himself February 23, 2021, 6:42 PM

    *cough*
    *gurgle*
    ‘Good job!’
    *drown*

  • Zaphod February 23, 2021, 6:47 PM

    I knew a girl went to Panama as an exchange student. She went to Darien. Host family told her to keep her car door locked and the windows up so she wouldn’t be groped. She didn’t need translations of Homer either. Apu was more problematic.

    Stunning video. Be nice if not a last hurrah. Musk. Try. Harder.

  • Anonymous February 23, 2021, 11:41 PM

    But they’re all masked. “Science!” I can hear them bleating in unison.

    Do they not realize that the very concept of space travel is colonialist running dog racism?

    Confess now, comrade, or become a domestic terrorist.

  • Rob De Witt February 24, 2021, 4:35 AM

    All those scientists and engineers appear to be white men.

    Just an observation.

  • Stargazer February 24, 2021, 6:18 AM

    @Rob De Witt. I noticed that too. Almost all white with some Asians. Nothing else. They did a great job. How far we have come since I worked on the first Mars orbiter (Mariner-9).

  • LP February 24, 2021, 6:53 AM

    Rob DeWitt says, “All those scientists and engineers appear to be white men.”

    But I see several women in the room, including the one on the mic.

  • Fletcher Christian February 24, 2021, 7:53 AM

    Nobody wearing an inappropriate shirt this time, I notice.

  • Tom Hyland February 24, 2021, 8:05 AM

    Here on planet Earth we’ve got this stuff called “air” which enables a parachute to open up as gravity pulls the chute and its cargo slowly to the ground. What is the atmosphere on Mars? Is there air or gasses or what? What slowed down the Mars lander and parachute? Me caveman and don’t know much.

  • Joel February 24, 2021, 8:11 AM

    Mars has an atmosphere, it’s just really thin compared to Earth.

  • Stargazer February 24, 2021, 8:26 AM

    Mars atmosphere is almost pure CO2 and is about 1/100 the density of Earth’s atmosphere. Roughly equivalent to 100,000 feet altitude on earth.

  • Gordon Scott February 24, 2021, 10:44 AM

    There was a passage in one of the good books on the early manned space program. Apparently someone noticed that all of the men in Mission Control were white. So recruiters were sent out far and wide, and they came back with . . . no one.

    Flight directors would not tolerate anyone less than capable, steady and reliable. Decisions had to be made in a second or less, and sometimes were. Apollo 12 nearly had a post-launch abort after lightning struck the climbing rocket, twice. But the chief electrical guy had a hunch and gave the order to more or less reboot. It worked. Had he hesitated a couple of more seconds, we would not have seen the escape rocket system deploy, because the rocket was inside a thunderstorm, see? But we would have seen the results.

    The recruiters told the NASA bosses that black people just didn’t take the hard courses. So, no black NASA engineers. But they did manage to put a black guy in front of the camera for PR work.

    Now, of course, we know that a black woman mathematician saved John Glenn, or so the legend goes.

  • James ONeil February 24, 2021, 12:00 PM

    If we can run a robot on Mars from a comfortable chair in Houston or wherever, why can’t we work in a business, farm a field, have intercourse with others as we sit safely forever at home in front of out computers screens?

    Sadly, it seems we’re presently testing that query.

    In this day and age, are the drones behind the screen, or in front of it?

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