Monday, 6 August 2012

Why Curiosity already won (in my opinion)

Only a few hours before the  arrival of Curiosity on the Martian surface. The landing is a complex and intricate task, and we really hope all will be ok.

The Twitter account of Mars Curiosity, of course managed by NASA, at the time of writing, has a respectable number of 200,419 followers. You can bet that by the time you read this post, it was even a few minutes from now, the number of followers will be even greater.

In my opinion, a first important result of the mission has already achieved: to demonstrate once again that science affects the general public.  People love to stay in direct contact with these great missions: they account for the modern age what once could be the exploration of the Indies, for example. The pictures that come to us from the planets of the Solar System are the equivalent of stories and drawings of ancient explorers. These modern interplanetary missions are called to compile a brand new Million, the famous book that Marco Polo wrote describing his explorations.

The man has a thirst for discovery, to go over, to throw the heart over the obstacle. We are engaged in a thousand affairs, bogged in ten thousand daily problems, but (thankfully), we are still interested in a mass of metal and circuitry that is coming on a distant planet, It concerns us, fascinates us. And after all,  remind us that curiosity is a fondamental aspect of our humanity.

Marco Castellani
INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Rome