As February quietly comes to a close and March beginslike a lion, as they sayit is exciting to consider longer days, warmer temperatures, more time outdoors, and a long-awaited vaccine. Beyond that, I am also excited, or perhaps, more precisely, moved by something far, far away: NASA’s successful landing of the Perseverance Rover on Mars last week.
Every few years, an eighth grade student will choose Mars or space exploration as their Capstone topic of study, and I am always fascinated to learn more about galactic pioneering. Invariably, the student presentations have inspired the audience to imagine what one might find on another planet and wonder about the possibility of life there. Last Thursday, it seems people all over this world also imagined that very possibility.
With the news on in the background as I made dinner with my daughter Alden, we both looked up to witness the jubilant NASA control team jumping in celebration and high-fiving upon the Perseverance’s safe landing. Alden, who regularly rails against my news-watching (“It is SO boring!” is her usual refrain), was swept up in the joy and excitement of the achievement. “That is amazing!” she exclaimed. “I mean, I wouldn’t want to go there myself, but still, for people that would, that is really exciting.”
After taking heart that my daughter doesn’t wish to explore other planets any time soon, we talked about all of the work that must have happened to get those scientists this far and the many discoveries that might result from this landing. Through it all, I noticed myself imagining a restored futureone marked by innovation and discovery, collaboration and problem-solving, and, yes, the perseverance it will take to inch closer and closer to recovery here on earth.
Welcome back, everyone. We have liftoff, and here comes March!
If your family wants to learn more about the Perseverance Rover, check out NASA’s excellent website on this mission to Mars.