Last night, we watched as the Curiosity rover landed on Mars — an emotional and precarious landing that was fraught with peril. The 2.6 billion dollar rover had to go through “seven minutes of terror” and use the world’s largest supersonic parachute to land in one specific spot chosen by NASA. It was enough to jolt anyone’s heart rate.
The Curiosity’s goal is “to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms,” according to NASA. The rover is sending pictures back — black and white for now, color later in the week.
First stop: Gale Crater, which scientists believe used to be a lake. After a year, we’ll have a pretty good idea of the planet’s history. As CNN put it:
If there aren’t any organics, that may suggest there’s something on the planet destroying these molecules, said Wray, of Georgia Tech. But if Curiosity detects them, Wray said, that might help scientists move from asking, “Was Mars ever habitable?” to “Did Mars actually host life?”
So there’s a lot for this SUV-sized rover to do on the big red planet as it goes forth into the unknown. Congrats, NASA! Here are some silly ideas of what Curiosity could find.
What will Curiosity discover?
The Twilight Zone.
Dinosaurs. (Oh my god, dinosaurs!)
Untapped oil wells, thus ending all Earth wars.
D.B. Cooper’s identity.
A portrait of Keith Richards that is aging rapidly in order to keep him alive.
The number 42.
An entire civilization of Martians living on the other side of the planet who will be all, “Oh, sup Earthlings? What’s been taking you so long to get here? Want a Mars brewskie? Stay a while. Chill out.”
The Venus de Milo’s arms.
Nothingness. Vast nothingness.
The reason why Jar Jar Binks was included in the Star Wars prequels.
Jimmy Hoffa’s body.
Daleks. So many daleks.
The Arrested Development movie on an old-fashioned movie reel, nestled in the red dust under a pair of frayed jean shorts.
Elvis Presley, performing at the Las Vegas of Mars.
A cure for the common cold.
Your “boyfriend” from summer camp when you were a kid.
An overflowing, gooey chocolate river.
The biggest, best Cirque de Soliel show ever. (Less gravity = more stunts.)
Marvin the Martian, Martian Manhunter, and Miss Martian snuggled up in a cuddle three-way on the top of Mount Sharp.
Ray Bradbury on a camping trip with Robert A. Heinlen, who annoyingly completely forgot to get mars-hmellows.
A winding hedge maze leading to a huge block of Swiss cheese.
Awesome rocks and dust samples that could help us determine if there was once life on another planet. Pretty sweet.