Science //

A curious solution

Tara Waniganayaka gives her take on the robust rover trawling the red planet


The landing of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity marks the first time a human voice has travelled to another planet and back.

In a rare display of “Houston, we don’t have a problem”, Curiosity has already collected high definition images of the planet’s surface, stored samples of dust and rock, drilled below the surface, monitored radiation, and set up a remote weather station. It’s a slow and treacherous process, and scientists are moving Curiosity from its current location in the Gale Crater to another area called Glenelg where they hope to further analyse types of rock very different to those on Earth.

There is no doubt that this is mind-blowingly amazing. The very idea that humans are able to observe activity on a planet some 225 million kilometres away is almost inconceivable. In this light, the rover was named by a 12 year old girl, Clara Ma. In an essay contest she penned: “Curiosity is the passion that drives us through our everyday lives”.

Oh how inspiring. However, I beg to differ. Sorry, Clara, but Curiosity is perhaps the last thing I would name this rover.

Sure, beaming X-rays at particles of red sand too small to be seen by the human eye is awe-inspiring. But I’m not going to lie – I’m only interested because I want to know whether that red sand could support a four-bedroom house with a swimming pool.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I christen this rover ‘Plan B’. #occupymars

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