Thursday, February 18, 2021

Science Fiction Fact Thriller

In a week characterized by natural, and human-created, disasters affecting millions of Americans, we need a feel-good story, so how about a science thriller featuring a plucky robotic protagonist?  I've been watching the NASA livestream of the Perseverance rover's safe landing on Mars.  The seven minutes of terror are over, the lander, accompanied by a helicopter drone named Ingenuity, touched down in a rugged bit of Martian terrain, Jezero Crater, which is thought to have housed an ancient lake.  The main mission of Perseverence and its 'copter sidekick, is to search for signs of microbial life.  Another function of the rover is to test whether oxygen can be extracted from the Martian atmosphere, the fact that this unit is named after my favorite soft drink is merely a bonus.

The livestream has been a joy... it's impossible not to root for the robots, and the human team that has worked so hard to get them where they needed to be, and the initial images from the rover's camera elicited a genuine sense of pride and wonder.  Kudos to the NASA team.  The livestream even featured video questions from schoolkids, including an adorable girl who drew a picture of the rover 'thinking about Earth'.

It's about time we had some good news, and this science fiction fact thriller, a tale of American achievement, engineering prowess, and scientific discover is particularly appealing to me... it's a perfect intersection of my interests.


Marc McKenzie said...

Yep, hearing the news of Perserverance's safe landing brought on a huge sigh of relief from me. I was too young to really understand the Viking landings, but I was old enough to pay attention to Pathfinder's landing in 1997.

A few hours after Perserverance's touchdown was the first episode of Season 2 of Apple TV's FOR ALL MANKIND, a great alternate history series where the space race never ended. It's a great show and I highly recommend it.

Richard said...

What will they find? I'm so happy it landed safe.