With everything terrible that is happening in the world, I think people often forget some of the truly amazing accomplishments of the human race. There are a number of them happening right now.
The probes Voyager 1 & 2 – launched in the 70’s remember – have flown beyond everything we know and begun to enter interstellar space; the space between stars. (Voyager 1 is already there, Voyager 2 isn’t far behind). Guys, it’s 11.7 billion miles from Earth, and hurtling away at roughly 38,000 mph. Wrap your mind around that. It’s beyond the sphere of influence of our Sun’s gravity. In 40,000 years, it will reach another star. Another star.
The European Space Agency landed a probe on a comet. On a fucking comet. Not to mention the probe that’s been trailing that comet for even longer. Yes we’ve got all kinds of satellites flying around but we landed something the size of a washing machine, on a chunk of ice and rock flying through space at thousands of miles per hour. That’s goddamn awesome.
Then we’ve got Cassini, which is out studying Saturn and its dozens of moons, while sending us back photos like this:
That arrow is point to Earth. Yeah. That’s us. Carl Sagan would love it, because it’s very reminiscent of the original Pale Blue Dot. (Video)
But here’s the reason I really started writing this post…
We’ve engineered technology thanks to good old fashioned human ingenuity and the drive for discovery and knowledge. And while we’ve sent small probes into the great unknown, perhaps even more exciting and fascinating is what’s happening right next door; on Mars. We’ve been sending hunks of machinery to Mars for decades, but only recently have been able to truly explore the planet with any real success. Read that again – explore another planet. Guys, we’re exploring another fucking planet. A planet that almost certainly supported life, and had water all over it.
Doesn’t anyone realize how unspeakably awesome that is?
So many people are consumed with themselves or their stupid opinions, ideals, and entitlements they can’t look beyond their political party lines and see things like this:
You’ll definitely want to CLICK HERE to download the full-res version of that photo. Do it. DO IT IT IS AMAZING.
(It’s a large file -but the ridiculous detail is…ridiculous)
Yesterday, JPL released another photo in the long series of ‘selfies’ Curiosity has taken during it’s mission on Mars. Most have been fun, but I don’t think most have been as remarkable as this one for two reasons: A) again, the resolution is so high the details on the full-size photo are astounding. You can literally see the crossbedding in the rock formations, and all the small rocks scattered across the Martian surface – not to mention the insane detail of the Rover itself. And B) the color & scenic location are fantastic.
Remember, Curiosity is currently climbing a mountain on Mars (Mt. Sharp). Yeah, a mountain on Mars.
You’ll also definitely want to CLICK HERE to download the full-res version of that photo, too. DO IT.
(Another large file)
As a bonus, the folks at NASA created a separate image from that image, a really sweet zoom in of Curiosity itself.
And again, you MUST CLICK HERE to download the full size version of it. Sure it looks a little weird with the rover’s arm being cut off in order to get the rest of the photos to stitch together, but you look beyond that when you start seeing everything else. DO IT. DOWNLOAD IT NOW.
So the next time you start to feel down and out because ISIS is being a bunch of dicks, or Donald Trump might be President, or some other goddamn wretched thing people seem to be capable of – keep in mind that humans are also capable of amazing feats of discovery. We are, right now, exploring another planet, and something we created at a time when computers in phones weren’t even conceived of yet, has gone beyond our little insignificant pocket of the vast Milky Way Galaxy.
This is an exciting time. Try to convince a friend to share in that excitement. Showing these pictures may help.