PASADENA, Calif.—Precisely on time and target, NASA's Curiosity rover touched down safely on Mars Monday to begin an ambitious two-year trek through a mountainous crater that promises to reveal whether the red planet was ever hospitable to life. LINK
The one ton, $2.5 billion Curiosity is the most scientifically equipped probe ever sent to another planet. It will begin an intensive search for signs that Mars may have once hosted life. Almost immediately upon landing, the Curiosity craft transmitted a series of photos to Earth showing its own wheels safely on the surface of Gale Crater near the equator of Mars.
Curiosity will make history, and no matter what it finds on its mission of exploration, we will be wiser and richer for the experience. I never tire of the vast complexity of the worlds around us and feel that their exploration tells us a lot about our planet and about ourselves. Even in tough economic times, the need to stretch ourselves is critical ("A man's reach must exceed his grasp. Or what's a heaven for."- Browning) to keep pushing the learning envelope.