Red Mars Redux

Who knew we were so close to science fiction? Okay, I’m sure a lot of people did. Reading this article on the Phoenix Lander, I couldn’t help but wonder how close we are to Kim Stanley Robinson’s vision. After a nine month journey, the Lander is set to land on Mars sometime Sunday and perform a few lab experiments.

But first, it must survive what its developers call the final “seven minutes of terror” to reach the surface.“There are many, many risks and uncertainties,” said Dr. Edward Weiler, associate administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration science division. Since the start of planetary exploration, 55 percent of spacecraft sent to land on Mars have failed, he said.

I don’t know. Maybe if we spent more money on the space program than on say, unnecessary wars, we’d have landed on Mars by now? Just a thought.