The latest Mars probe touched down safely yesterday afternoon. It was spectacular to watch, even with animated graphics.
Thankfully, we are still privy to moments like this amid the everyday, regular reminders that humans can be so useless and dumb. For anyone who cared to tune in, they were given a lesson in what can happen when people are focused on a task—namely planning and delivering on the development of a machine that travels almost 300 million miles to another planet, performs flawlessly in its atmospheric entry, lands softly, and sends back pictures almost right away. And there’s much more in the works. There’s a helicopter on Mars now, along with other instrumentation that will aid scientists in learning if life once existed on the Red Planet.
We still have it in us. Whether or not it’s useful to us is something that needs to be answered for. But how can this not amaze and give us pause to ponder something other than a pandemic and ugly politics and the rest of our ills? It might make one wonder if similar efforts are being made to address our earthbound concerns.
If we can conceive, construct, and follow through on such an ambitious project as Perseverance, you’d think we’d be able to do the same for the things that need attention here on Earth. We just need to learn how to get out of our own way.