(Originally written on August 13, 2012)
I saw this today.
At some point, I’ll walk into some sort of Exploratorium with my child, and amongst the exhibits will be an opportunity to control a Mars rover over the internet for a few minutes, and the child will not appreciate how exhilaratingly wild and astounding that will be.
When rendered in a high definition 360 degree view, the sheer mundanity of what we see (these rocks are like our rocks) implies a terrifying vastness of shared experience across the solar system. We may find unimaginable sights in deep space, but there are also anchor points.
This mission, which has been fed by every cultural achievement humans have made, seems to be on a laser-straight path toward a golden, existence-redefining moment. That we will find evidence of life on Mars seems like a certainty to me. We’ll probably eventually be surprised by the sheer volume of what we find, given better tools to help detect it.