Toronto. Star Wars, anyone? It was exciting news last Thursday when the rover Perseverance landed on Mars as planned. Both my wife and I watched the event on television that afternoon.
One of the first things the rover did was send back to earth a low resolution (saves bandwidth – high resolution photos will come later) photograph. The robot first sent a twitter to say it landed safely followed by a photograph. It takes eleven minutes through a vacuum at the speed of light to send a message home and as much time to send back to Mars. An epic event and well done by the NASA team.
Personally, I was thrilled to see photography playing a small part in the event. In 1969, we watched when Neil Armstrong first walked on the Moon and took film photographs – another astonishing milestone. Anyone could later order a copy to be sent by regular mail. Before that event, we could only learn the amount of thrust needed to break from the pull of earth’s gravity.
Today, digital photography and smartphones make for nearly instantaneous snapping and viewing world wide. But eleven minutes? From Mars? WOW?