NASA sure has got it right this time. Not only did they achieve a perfect controlled landing on Mars, but they also re-ignited the public’s fascination with space exploration.
In New York, around 1,000 people watched the landing on the big screen in Times Square.
Image: Leslie Mullen
It must be said, I’ve always been an advocate for human space exploration. I want to live vicariously through the adventures of astronauts. I want to imagine what it would be like to be the first person to walk on Mars. But this week, I found myself just as excited about a mechanical machine taking that first bold step – and I wasn’t alone!
The landing on Mars was brilliant, but just as successful was the range of interesting communication strategies that NASA used to get us all talking about Curiosity.
Have you tried your hand at the Mars Rover Landing game? It’s free for the Xbox Kinect. My boys had some fun over the weekend trying to land the rover for themselves – for what it is, it’s a great little game, and best of all, they now have a clear idea of exactly what the landing involved and why it was such an amazing thing to get right.
Do you have the right stuff to land Curiosity? Test your skills with the Mars Rover Landing game.
Then there was the “seven minutes of terror” animation. At the Melbourne Planetarium, we’re now showing a special version that was specifically made for planetariums, using the planetarium's fulldome cinema format. Rather than watching a square screen, the action fills the planetarium dome and is a great treat for our visitors.
And wasn't it great to see all the action live? It was so easy to get online and be right there in the control room! Who can’t but get excited when you see the elation and hear the whoops of joy from those NASA guys as their “seven minutes of terror” came to the perfect conclusion.
The exhilaration of a nail-biting achievement.
Lastly the tweets – nothing makes a spacecraft more lovable than hearing its own excited reaction (so what if it’s make-believe!).
It once was one small step... now it's six big wheels. Here's a look at one of them on the soil of Mars #MSL pic.twitter.com/uzO99NZz
Happy snaps from Curiosity on the surface of Mars.
Congrats to Curiosity and NASA. Wish you all the best for the next Martian year and let’s hope the excitement continues as you discover more about the red planet.