Was it really over two years ago that the technological marvel of NASA’s Curiosity space rover launched from our blue marble to begin its tour of the Martian landscape? Yet, the rover is merely one of a succession of rovers that have redefined the public conception of space exploration. Though many (myself included) may harbour an idealistic vision of space-farers, fuelled by cinema hits like Star Wars and Star Trek (both old and new), the reality presents a bleak vision of budget cuts and administrative indifference.
But that isn’t to say that space-exploration hasn’t been without any pleasant surprises. NASA’s Spirit lasted over 20 times longer than its engineers had designed it for, in an environment featuring temperature swings of nearly 200 degrees and under constant bombardment by toxic cosmic rays. But perhaps this resilient little guy had thoughts of his own…>
The Curiousity Rover has been autonomous for the past 10 months so far. Give ’em another 700, and we’ll have a Pixar movie in the making!