Saturday, March 28, 2009

If You Believe They Put a Man on the Moon

I'm getting interested in all things space travel again. Will we finally put a man on Mars? The dates being bandied about are all in the 2030s. Colonization of Mars is an inevitability, so I think we should just go ahead put those tax dollars into it. I ran across an interesting article in Astronomy magazine (last month's) though that argued that it's good that we're not rushing into such things as manned flights to Mars-- since rushed-into and failed space programs lead to even further delays, which is a valid point.

I do hope we (mainly the US) get another rover on Mars though before the Spirit and Opportunity no longer function-- already they've surpassed their 3 month longevity astronomically (no pun intented)-- at 5 years+. It would be cool that, starting with these two pioneering rovers, we always had at least one funtioning rover starting from 2003. The Mars Science Laboratory is scheduled to launch in the Fall-Winter of 2011, to land in about September 2012. Nasa is currently having a contest about naming the new rover-- submission of nominees were by schoolchildren. Among the nine finalists: Wonder, Adventure, Vision... and Amelia? Link to Nasa site.

Link to Wikipedia article with list of Mars space programs.

By the way, there's a funny YouTube video about all of these landers and rovers dropping down on Mars: here's the link.

I look forward to a few other missions, including the Pluto flyby. This mission-- New Horizons-- launched on January 19, 2006 and will reach it's destination on July 14, 2015.

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