The Mars Landing Was the Best Thing on TV This Week

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Look, it’s been an awful week. Winter storms caused power outages and chaos from Oregon to Texas. Answer all co-host PJ Vogt and others resigned after accusations at Gimlet Media of a toxic culture. Unemployment is still increasing. And it’s just slipping over the scum pile. By the way, there were not a lot of popular culture to distract beyond the new trailers. Fight to the death and Cruella. It seemed infrequently on TV except for one thing: the Mars rover’s landing.

When few of us leave our neighborhood these days, it is possible that the idea of ​​traveling into space might be even more fantastic, but truly watching the peak of the Perseverance mission had all the components of TV to see. First, there were too many expectations. NASA’s latest Mars rover-carrying Atlas V rocket launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in July and has spent the last six months en route to the Red Planet. It also had great tools: Perseverance, a nuclear powered 2,300-pound rover tasked with searching the landscape of Mars for signs of ancient microbial life. In other words, this is an “alien hunt a self-driving car” and during the hour of NASA hovering in its live stream, he did this using interviews with super enthusiastic (read: yummy cow) scientists and animations. looked like something out of The Expanse. So science fiction!

Covid-19 angle? He was also present on the Perseverance live show. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory had to resume work on March 12 last year, and has been working under Covid security protocols ever since. (Rocket scientists – just like us!) There was also a special cameo: a microphone designed to capture the sounds of life on Mars, something no research has done before.

But the real thing that made the landing extremely suspicious was the promise of literally “seven minutes of terror”. As the rover approached Mars yesterday, its supersonic parachute slowed its descent and the “sky crane” dropped it in place. Watching this happen was incredibly exciting. Literally. I’ve lost two nails. He had watched scientists a lot watching the screens, but seeing their enthusiasm and tension as their years of work wandered through space was as immersive as possible. Ron Howard can never.

Perhaps the excitement is, at least for me, a by-product of the fact that the kind of human joy exhibited after hitting the rover at JPL is, frankly, something that has not been seen in a long time. Or maybe it’s just a glimpse of a room full of government officials working together to solve a problem, all masked – most even double-masked. Either way, something was clicked about watching it happen live. For months, fiction has been a fictional escape for overwhelming watching of news, be it in movie, book or TV form. Over the course of six minutes on Thursday, existence on Earth got a little more marvelous, offering a glimpse of life elsewhere.


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