PostHeaderIcon A very special day

Some years ago, when I was about six, maybe seven years old I remember a special day at school when I was allowed out of lessons to watch TV in the communal assembly hall. What was was on TV that was so special that that I was allowed to miss my normal lessons? Well it was the first ever launch of NASA’s space shuttle. I don’t remember its name but I remember being in awe when I saw it lift off. I don’t remember much else about that day other than being amazed that people could propel themselves into space and potentially come back again to tell us about it.

Well yesterday was another one of those days and only second to that day when the first space shuttle lifted off. So what happened yesterday?

Yesterday was a marvellous day for mankind as we saw the launch of United Launch Alliance’s ATLAS V rocket carrying the NASA MSL (Mars Space Laboratory) aka “Curiosity”.

The launch was one of those moments that makes me sit back and think about how ingenious us humans really are….I mean this latest trip to Mars is really amazing. Just imagine that we (well I really meant those great folks at NASA) are going to send a rocket 350 million miles through unknown outer space and then drop a mobile laboratory the size of your average family car down a rope and onto a patch of land not larger than a football pitch…and all that remotely controlled from our own little planet. Oh yeah.. I almost forgot, then they are going to take photos, video and conduct experiments and send the results back to earth! That is like you or me playing darts and throwing a dart over 300 feet (100 meters) and still hitting the bulls eye! Kudos to the NASA team for even trying, lets hope that they succeed!

[EDIT] I just realised that the mission will take 9 months to land on Mars, that means that the spacecraft is travelling at an average speed of 54 thousand miles per hour – WOW!

More about Mars next time…..for now I leave you in awe of the MSL and ATLAS 5.



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