Yes, I know, that’s not a picture of the rover, or Mars. BUT, it is a picture that I took from the National Mall not so long ago and well, I don’t have any pictures of the rover that *I* took. On to the point!
Anyone who talks about there being no value in a space program, or that it should be left to private entities could not possibly have seen three of the most moving events that have happened this year. Starting with the launch of the last shuttle last summer, followed by seeing it carried to rest at Dulles, to watching the ustream feed for the Curiosity rover landing, I cannot imagine how one’s sense of awe could not be grabbed ahold of and shaken into submission.
In elementary school, we were challenged to build a contraption to safely land an egg, dropped from a cherry-picker, in a gym. In middle school, within the scope of Science Olympiad, the materials allowed dropped to a piece of paper, some string, tape and a straw. JPL just created new materials, new structures and threw a robot 350 million miles and lowered it to the surface of another planet by means of a rocket-powered crane.