Ms. Monstrrr and I have been working our way through Cosmos, which absolutely stands the test of time. Some of the science is a little outdated, but not very much. I credit Carl Sagan for my first experience of awe at the universe, and for much of my assumption that we will be going to space. I can’t imagine why it would be a controversial subject- it’s more like a logical and organic progression.
After watching the episode on Mars, it made me sad that Sagan wasn’t around to see all the exploration of Mars that’s happened since the mid 90′s. So who’s on Mars right now?
For starters, there are the two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. They were designed for 90-day missions, but that was 2003 and they’re not dead yet. Spirit is in the deepest sleep it’s ever entered, from which it may not wake up, but Opportunity is still cruising along doing science.
Meanwhile, there are three active orbiters: Mars Odyssey, Mars Express and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter:
- NASA Spacecraft Camera Yields Most Accurate Mars Map Ever
- Mars’s mysterious elongated crater
- Hundreds of New Views from Telescope Orbiting Mars
It’s amazing that we have so much happening on Mars (and elsewhere) when so much of NASA is such a mess today. There’s a lot of politics going on about the future of human spaceflight as a NASA project. There’s also a fair amount starting to happen on the commercial side of human spaceflight, but the gap between the two is still huge. More on NASA politics one of these days.