Image by author using Licensed Elements (original image of rover mast head by NASA)
Space exploration is not just about gathering data.
By and large, the last few hundred days on Earth are not going to be remembered fondly. Few will recall the COVID-19 years with a sense of happy nostalgia. Ultimately, however, this time won’t be entirely defined by the beating we took at the hands of a pandemic. Despite the many tragedies and challenges therein, we still managed to pull off some pretty remarkable things.
Somewhere high on that list is the recent trifecta success in the robotic exploration of Mars.
In February, spacecraft from three nations reached Mars in close succession. Since then, these missions have collectively knocked it out of the park with a series of impressive firsts.
NASA – now a seasoned veteran of robotic Mars exploration – amazed us with the first controlled flight and audio recording on another planet. As if that’s not enough, their Perseverance rover converted Martian atmosphere into oxygen for the first time (an important prerequisite for Mars settlement).
With Al-Amal, the UAE became the first Arab nation to establish a scientific presence at Mars, achieving that milestone on their ...