I am indebted to the wonderful Mary Roach for tweeting this link to a great short video on the amazing event that is about to happen. It was Mary Roach who wrote Packing for Mars, which makes interesting points about how long distance travel for humans involves a fair few hygiene issues.
The rover is now less than ¼ million miles from Mars, and closing at around 8,000 mph. So it will be there tomorrow. If the extraordinarily complex landing routine goes off OK, we will have another, better than either Spirit or Opportunity, rover sending us pictures of the surface of Mars. The last lot were pretty wonderful.
Maybe I am just a geek, but I cannot help feeling that these staggering achievements in space are rather more worthwhile that watching people run around – a primitive activity that is hardly new. I admit I did quite like seeing the athletes run around the Serpentine (I used to run around the Serpentine for exercise when I live in London, sometimes, on a Saturday morning, and then drop off on Queensway to pick up proper French Croissants from Pechon on the way home. Just for Jeanie’s sake, you understand. But I did think it a bit weird for them to be running anti-clockwise. I, and pretty much all of the other Saturday morning runners, used to do it clockwise, for some reason that now eludes me).
And, if I am to be frank, it is mildly fun to watch the Oz broadcasters trying with minimal success to cope with the abysmally poor performance of Australia this time around, and the corresponding success of Team GB. Not that it would matter a hoot, except that it matters to them.
Ultimately, what is more absorbing: Olympic Agony and Ecstasy, or the discovery of Mars? For me, it is Mars. I’m a geek.