The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Martian Vanity Plate and Geordi LeForge Explains the Next NASA Mars Mission

One Spacecraft Views Another: HiRise Sees Curiosity on Mars.
Courtesy of NASA
Driving to work yesterday, I came up behind a bright red Ford F150 pickup truck. The color seemed appropriate for the vanity license plate, which read ON2MARS. Now there's a sentiment I can get behind. There are quite a few earthlings among us who want to become Martians and are ready to get on with it, on to Mars!

Personally, I don't back the one way Mars trippers who basically are willing to consign themselves to a suicide mission to the Red Planet. At least, that's what I've heard. If I'm wrong and they want to establish a thriving colony on their one way journey, that's another story. NASA wants to have humans on Mars ... or orbiting Mars by the 2030s. After the LADEE moon mission, which proved high speed communication between a spacecraft and Earth, or a spacecraft and a robot are possible using laser light, it may be that robots will travel to Mars first, followed by humans who remain in orbit and explore the world through their robots in real time by rapid laser communication. We shall see.

Then again, Elon Musk of SpaceX would like to cut down that time by ten years using his Dragon capsule and appropriate modules and arrive on the red planet in the 2020s. His spaceship just passed another milestone toward carrying crew, deemed an extremely safe system. Good job SpaceX team!

Meanwhile, LaVar Burton, known for many roles including Chief Engineer Geordi LeForge on Star Trek: The Next Generation, has just explained why we are sending the Mars orbiter MAVEN to the angry, dry, red world. Spoiler Alert: NASA scientists really want to know why Mars lost its atmosphere way back when ... and what that might mean for us here on planet Earth. You'll find that video in the next posting up from this one. Enjoy!

Update, 11/19/13: NASA successfully launched the Maven robot explorer to Mars on 11/18/13. The trip will take ten months. Noted satellite and robot killer, Mars, responded, "Bring it!" Only time will tell whether human technology or the planet named for the god of war will win this contest.
Maven launches successfully on 11/18/13 for ten month Mars journey.
Image courtesy of NASA

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