I’ve been enjoying the work being done at NASA, especially the missions with Mars rover, Curiosity, and New Horizons as it flew by Pluto. I thought I’d share a little about their current missions.
Curiosity has capture some amazing images of the Red Planet, such as petrified sand dunes, dramatic buttes, treacherous bedrock, sand-covered valleys, cracked surfaces, and even selfies of Curiosity on outcrops. All the while it’s getting work done, drilling for samples, reading temperature, humidity and radiation levels and inspecting all the different sights.
The rover has traveled over 6 miles since it landed on August 12, 2012, but so far there are no reports of any alien life.
NASA has some cool features that even allow us to explore the red planet. One app called Mars Trek allows anyone to study Mars, and another program called Experience Curiosity allows viewers to travel with Curiosity.
The spacecraft New Horizons is another mission that has provided some incredible images. We’ve been treated to the best views of Pluto and its moons, Charon, Hydra and Nix yet, and now it’s on its way to the Kuiper belt.
Pluto’s strange surface, made up mostly of rock and ice, is complicated and diverse. Parts of the planet look smooth, while other areas have cratering and a network of valleys.
Then there’s the Kepler mission, where scientists are searching for exoplanets, habitable planets, and another earth. So far the mission has confirmed 1,030 exoplanets, and 12 in the “habitable zone,” including one called Kepler-452b, which is the smallest planet they’ve found in the habitable zone.
Another on-going mission is with the International Space Station, which has been continuously occupied since November 2000, and I see that three crew members just returned to earth yesterday, landing in Kazakhstan. Commander Gennady Padalka from Russia returned after 168 days on board and he has spent a total of 879 days in space- the most by any human, while traveling 71 million miles. Very cool!
At the moment there are six passengers on board the station, and two of them- Astronaut Scott Kelly and Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko- are on a one-year mission, and I wish them well.
Those on board are working to advance technology and human innovation in a microgravity laboratory, orbiting the earth every 90 minutes.
And if all these weren’t enough, there’s the breathtaking images from the Hubble Space Telescope. We can see distant galaxies and nebulae that are awe-inspiring creations of God.
I’ll finish this tour of space with NASA’s Journey to Mars, in which they’re planning to send humans to the Red Planet sometime in the 2030s for exploration and the advancement of technology. There have been plenty of movies about missions to Mars, and now it’s coming closer to reality. But first, NASA is partnering with 20th Century Fox in a film called, Martian, in which humans are regularly traveling and living there. It will be interesting to see what kind of alien spin this movie will have.
All these missions have a lot of importance and can help us in many ways, especially in the advancement of technology that can improve our lives. Some of it seems unnecessary, like the search for extraterrestrial life, but that comes with the territory of space exploration and our love for science fiction.