26 November 2018

Congratulations NASA!

The InSight lander has successfully touched down on Mars after its nearly seven-month trip from Earth.  The main mission page is here.

The exploration of the solar system over the last few decades is one of the great success stories of modern science.  When Trump and his bullshit are forgotten, this will remain.


Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yes, quite a feat, isn't it! Very exciting to see what kind of info it will produce.

26 November, 2018 20:55  
Anonymous NickM said...

A lot of readers of the Daily Mail would disagree with you Infidel.

There's a lot about it being a waste of money and a staggering amount about it being faked. Of all the conspiracies the faked space expeditions ones are the ones that really, really perplex and annoy me. I mean the faked moon landings would have needed a global conspiracy in which the USSR would have to have been complicit AT THE HEIGHT OF THE COLD WAR!!!

My wife tells me not to waste my time but I can't help myself maybe because I'm a former astrophysicist and some of these nutjobs tell me what I spent years at university studying doesn't actually exist. Yes, there are a surprising number of young Earthers and even flat Earthers...

"Brigadier Deveaux, Royal Berkshire, United Kingdom, 20 minutes ago

This is just propaganda. There's no such place as Mars and man has never been out of the Earths atmosphere. FACT"

That is not atypical. What I wonder is why are people so perversely stupid?

And no, it isn't just (or even I suspect mainly) religion. I suspect deep down it is a psychological inferiority complex: I don't understand x therefore x cannot be otherwise I'd be dumb. That's why people invent bullshit they do understand.

But cheer-up Nick! It worked and whilst a great achievement in spaceflight it's really about geology and seismology. I can't think of any other extraterrestrial experiment in those fields which is anywhere close.

27 November, 2018 02:19  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Debra: It's going to focus on studying the planetary interior, something we haven't done before. There will probably be a lot of new discoveries.

Nick: There's a certain irreducible level of stupidity in the population, I think. It's just that for most of history we barely heard from such people, whereas now they're on the internet.

It may well involve an inferiority complex, not wanting to believe that the universe is much bigger and grander than the tiny corner they exist in and understand. But I think for many people there's also an element of not wanting to believe that it's bigger and grander than what the Bible and Koran describe.

Anyway, who cares. The dogs bark, but the caravan of science moves on.

27 November, 2018 04:46  
Anonymous NickM said...

Yeah, I'll buy that later idea Infidel. The Biblical Universe is a bit meh...

As to the internet democritising idiocy... yeah, that too but by the same token 100 years from now they'll be forgotten like phlogiston in the rain.

I mean we forget that we've always lived in amongst a morass of wrong ideas and even stupid ideas and some that Wolfgang Pauli would say, "Are not even wrong".

27 November, 2018 06:12  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

I saw this. My husband was so excited while this was landing so I sat and watched it with him. It's really cool that they were able to land it successfully.

27 November, 2018 10:06  
Blogger Martha said...

So exciting! I'm really happy I'm here to see this happen :)

27 November, 2018 16:59  
Blogger Adam said...

I bet Trump thinks he's also president of Mars

28 November, 2018 01:34  
Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

Right on, Infidel.

I'll say this--we've learned more about our solar system in the past five decades than we have in the previous centuries before--and it's all thanks to the efforts of those around the world, regardless of nationality, who have sent these probes to the planets in our system.

It's also difficult work, and there have been failures, but when there are successes, it's truly awe-inspiring.

(Plus this adds more to the research I'm doing for that future series of "Alicia wuz here" images!)

28 November, 2018 14:00  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Nick: True, the nutbars are seldom remembered, unless their delusions are especially entertaining.

Mary: The landing was indeed impressive, done remotely at a range of tens of millions of miles on an alien planet. I can barely parallel-park. :-)

Martha: It's remarkable, the things we're being privileged to see.

Adam: I think that as a plutocrat, Trump's home planet is actually Pluto.

Marc: It's been a tremendous feat of discovery. I do wish it were somehow possible for those who showed the way -- people like Aristarchus and Galileo -- to see how far we've come.

Looking forward to Alicia's future rovings.....

28 November, 2018 17:21  
Anonymous Ole Phat Stu said...

That NASA artist's impression of InSight on Mars is just plain wrong!
It has the sun just on the horizon, but the shadows of the
solar collectors directly below the lander :-(

29 November, 2018 05:33  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Heh. I wonder how many conspiratards will think it's supposed to be a photograph and use that to "prove" that the InSight landing is faked. :-)

29 November, 2018 16:55  

Post a Comment

<< Home