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View Full Version : From the Director's Keyboard: Welcome to Mars, Zhurong!



nancygraz
2021-May-18, 10:30 PM
When it comes to headlines, it is (at least temporarily) time to say "Move over, Percy; there is a new rover on Mars." This weekend (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01301-7), China became the second nation to successfully land a working mission on the red planet. Working is the key phrase here. Many not-working, non-US missions have, ah, arrived at the surface (https://www.space.com/10930-mars-landings-red-planet-exploration.html) at a variety of velocities.

The Zhurong rover was deployed after its parent ship, Tianwen-1, had conducted its own orbital imaging survey of potential landing sites. Today, the rover is located in Utopia Planitia near the edge of the Northern Lowlands. Like NASA's (http://nasa.gov/) Spirit and Opportunity (https://mars.nasa.gov/mars-exploration/missions/mars-exploration-rovers/), it is planned to have a 90 day mission, but who really knows how long it might actually last.

Part of me is worried that instead of a friendly competition in the name of science, this could become a more sinister space race, like what's depicted in Apple's (https://www.apple.com/tv/) For All Mankind (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7772588/). The best way I know to do is to just keep celebrating all the peaceful accomplishments made in the name of science.

There is more than one KISS principal, folks. For me, it remains, Keep it Simply Science.
In love and science,
Pamela

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