Likens: Mars is a waste of NASA funds
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 01:09
Recently, the developing story of the Curiosity Rover has born one of the most popular stories worldwide. With all the unknown nooks and depths of our own beautiful planet having just barely been tapped, I find it hard to understand exactly why NASA insists on prodding around Mars.
Any scientist worth his/her mettle will tell you that there are still plenty of strange and horrifying aquatic life to discover, and quite a few more interesting kinds of mildew. Still, the space program and earthlings in general have long had an infatuation with the red planet, manifested in the arguably strange desire to take pictures of it.
Upon seeing Curiosity’s photos, two thoughts may come to mind.
First, we should be thankful Curiosity has not become self-aware and taken liberties with the photos, arrogantly using Instagram to really make the colors pop. Second, it becomes apparent this mission does in fact have an ultimate goal, and it is indeed an impressive one: to at last capture the pure essence of boredom in high definition.
Surprisingly, Mars has not changed much since our last visit. I would advise anyone who thinks this would be obvious to count how many times a day they scan through their empty refrigerators in desperate hope that they had somehow overlooked something. The idea of returning to Mars is understandable. Yes, such futile practices are mistakes, but mistakes that are entirely human, only in this instance the mistake doesn’t cost billions of dollars to develop and years of travel through an unfeeling vacuum of nothingness.
You would therefore imagine that NASA would want its technology back after such a costly investment, but that seems to not be the case. Although the idea of tying a really long rope to the rover and just pulling it back to Earth sounds promising, it is ultimately infeasible. By all means, this is a one way ticket. Mars will be a lonely grave for Curiosity.
Immediately upon realizing that, the true nature of this expedition seems brilliantly obvious. Mankind, finite in our form, but infinite in our resolve, ventures forth into the lifeless dark to uncover the secrets of an alien world. We land, we explore, we learn, and immediately upon finishing, our first instinct is to litter that planet as elaborately as possible. Mankind is, through the medium of pollution, planting our flag in the Martian soil. Frankly, I would be shocked and disappointed to learn there had not been a prototype that, upon death, exploded fantastically in a hail of Corn Nut wrappers and cigarette butts.
After all, was the ultimate hope of our stargazing ancestors not to someday colonize beyond our own world? We wish to learn so that we may understand; we wish to understand so that we may make practical use of otherwise useless things. To colonize such planets, we must first understand them, and know what is required of us to do so- then to guarantee that our place in the universe, we need to be bold. And what is bolder, I ask you, than the automobile-sized corpse of human ingenuity lying crooked in a pile of rocks?