Nope, I just checked, both of my cats are alive. And still sticking their noses where they don’t belong. But that’s not the curiosity I’m talking about. I’m talking about Curiosity, the latest Mars rover, which landed some time early this morning. Safely, I might add. It’s now looking around and starting to explore. It joins the long running Opportunity rover.
I was much younger when the Spirit and Opportunity rovers landed, but I can remember them clearly. At the time, I wanted to be an astronomer, and I wrote several papers and did a lot of research on the two little guys, as well as followed their activities daily. Over time, my interest waned, but I have always checked up on them relatively often. I remember being very sad when they declared Spirit dead. I’m happy today because Opportunity is still going strong. Or at least, still going, some eight years after its mission was set to end. It is truly thanks to these rovers that we know what we do about the red planet.
I also remember following the Phoenix lander, and being a bit disappointed when it didn’t last much past its mission date. Although I should have know it would not, since it wasn’t built to withstand freezing.
I haven’t followed Curiosity as much as I did the other rovers and landers. I’m not sure why not. Maybe it’s because it’s been done before. Maybe I don’t think anything can beat the lifespan and discoveries of Spirit and Opportunity. Maybe I don’t want anything to; they were my rovers, from my time. Maybe I’m just not as curious as I used to be. Or maybe I’m lazy.
However it may be, I’m happy to see that the rover has landed, and might just start following its daily activities again. Perhaps its name is well deserved. I hope that it does grab the curiosity of many people. Maybe there’s some kid out there who will follow this rover as I followed the previous ones. I hope so.