Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk
Please visit the sponsor!
I've just seen one of the most impressive images ever published by NASA.
This image shows the wreckage of a spacecraft on the surface of Mars and it was taken by the Ingenuity helicopter that is flying in concert with the Perseverance rover on that planet.
The two images can be seen on the JPL-Caltech website.
When I consider just how much technology is involved in producing the images you see there, my gob is well and truly smacked.
First, even the very fact that we're able to send a rover and helicopter on an almost half billion kilometer journey to land safely on the surface of the red planet is mind-boggling.
Then, to have the entire landing sequence to go off without a hitch is also stunning. There were so many potential failure-points during that journey and landing -- yet everything worked perfectly.
Subsiquently we've seen the Ingenuity helicopter far outlive its projected life and continue making increasingly long flights in the super-thin atmosphere -- another amazing feat.
And now, for it to fly to the point where the backshell of the landing system impacted the planet's surface and get images that can only be described as amazing in their clarity and resolution, well that beggars belief.
Not only can you see the crumpled backshell but also the parachute and connecting cables that played such a critical role in the landing sequence.
Even the helicopter itself makes an appearance in the frame by way of its shadow in the bottom left of the picture.
To think that this technology was conceived and built by a much of highly evolved apes on a planet that is currently 250 million Km away is awe-inspiring. What's more, we're still directing events some 14 months after the landing and things are going well.
Now here's the real eye-opener...
The cost of this incredible project was US$2.7 billion.
Sounds like a lot, right?
Well no. To put things in perspective, the US president has just asked congress for $33bn in funding to support the war in Ukraine.
Yep, for what it's going to cost to blow lots of shite up and kill countless people, we could send another dozen scientific missions to Mars.
Even more ludicrous... for what Elon Musk is paying for Twitter, we could send another 16 missions to the red planet.
This leaves me wondering just how much more advanced we'd be as a planet if we actually spent our valuable resources on science, rather on blowing the snot out of each other or hurling insults in 200 characters or less.
Worth contemplating isn't it?
Please visit the sponsor!
Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.