Sunday, August 13, 2017


I read something the other day about the Mars Curiosity Rover ... that, all alone on the Red Planet (as far as anyone would be aware), it had been programmed to sign "Happy Birthday" to itself once a year.  How sad!  But then it became just a little sadder.  Last week marked the Rover's fifth anniversary on Mars ... but there was no "Happy Birthday" this time ... in fact, there was only one "Happy Birthday" sung and that was back in 2013.  Why?  The report I saw quoted Florence Tan, the deputy chief technologist at NASA's Science Mission Directorate as saying (after she had said that "the answer to your [Marina Soren - the author of the article] questions will sound rather cold and unfeeling" ):  in a nutshell, there is no scientific gain from the Rover playing music or singing 'Happy Birthday' on Mars.  Marina Soren's comment in response:  In the battle betwen song and science, science always wins.   Why did it do that one time?  Well, in that case, it was to see if it could be done:  so ... Curiosity (Rover) won!

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