You made it. You traveled thousands upon thousands of miles, through space, to pull some insanely specific and risky maneuvers and land safely - flawlessly! - on the surface of Mars. You were dreamed up by human minds, put together by human hands, and you are now on the surface of another planet. You are on MARS. Tucked away safely in Gale Crater, ready to put your instruments to work and start sending us information about a place we've never been, about terrain we have yet to walk.
|Curiosity, on it's way to the|
surface of Mars, captured by
It's sad. It's very sad. ... You know what, actually it's fucking shameful.
But we are not all lost. We have brilliant minds - like Bill Nye, like those at JPL, like those at NASA, like those in laboratories all over the world - working together for a greater good. Working on finding solutions to problems that 99% of us are too busy staring down at our cell phones to recognize even exist. They are out there, finding parallels between climates on Earth and on Mars, building rovers and satellites and even things you and I can access and utilize, like solar panels. They are constantly working to strengthen humanity. To see to it that we shift our priorities from self-destruction to self-preservation and expansion. Day after day, they work to try to extend our race's existence, while most of our population resists participating in the name of greed. However, to be fair it's not entirely restricted to scientists; we also have the small percentage of people who are actively attempting to minimize their own damage infliction on a personal level. This small population of people, these scientists and these environmentally-aware individuals, they may just be our only hope... unless we all learn from them, and look up.
And when we look up, we'll be looking towards you, Curiosity. We'll be looking up towards the sky, towards space, towards a machine the size of a small car that those brilliant minds sent hurtling into space at unimaginable speeds, that broke safely through the atmosphere of The Red Planet and was settled down into Gale Crater by skycrane. Lowered down by cables, safely, into the dust of Mars and ready to learn.
You have no interest in oil, no interest in mass destruction. You only wish to learn, to explore, and ultimately, to teach. You are a product of human ingenuity, of our desire to continue existing so we can continue learning. Our desire to make sense of our place and purpose in the Cosmos. You are hope.
We cheered you on at every step, at every mention of still being able to hear your "heartbeat," at every stage of your daredevil landing. We applauded enthusiastically at every success. We cried when we saw the picture you sent back, your shadow safely on the surface of Mars.
I never felt it more strongly than at that moment, when the cheers in the Planetarium overwhelmed the volume of the cheers in the live feed of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory... through our crippled atmosphere, through the rising heat and clouds of smog, there is hope. A symbol of our desire to explore, learn, survive. A massive achievement, pure inspiration. We should all look up. I look up to you, Curiosity. You are a success. You are hope.
Dare mighty things.