Yesterday, India put a satellite in orbit around Mars, becoming only the fourth country to do so, after the United States, Russia, and Europe. The latter is totally cheating. International cooperation in order to achieve greatness? It’s like they don’t even know how to play international politics. China launched a mission in 2011, but it failed on account of rockets not firing, and then burning up in Earth’s atmosphere. So round one of Who Wants to be the Next Superpower? goes to India over China. Next round is the judge’s Q&A, in which India is heavily favored since China still is in that phase where it shoots people who ask questions.
First off, in all seriousness, that’s some impressive engineering right there. And they did it for $64 million, which is barely a quarter what it would take Hollywood to pretend to go to Mars. I had a physics class in high school in which we had to use photographs of Mars in the sky over time in order to recreate the calculations to figure out the orbit of Mars. It’s harder than it looks.
But, now for the part of terrible seriousness. Within hours of the Indian craft’s successful orbital insertion, massive fireballs were sighted over several thousand miles of the Eastern seaboard. These were reported to the American Meteorological Society’s official fireball reporting service. They even have an app, so that you can report fireballs in the sky from your favorite mobile device (unless of course you turned your phone into a paperweight with iOS8).
Let me repeat: we live in a world where it is perfectly normal to report fireballs in the sky on your tricorder.
Blessed times, my friends, blessed times.
What did the Indians awake on Mars? What dark creatures fell from the eternal blackness into our countrysides last night?
Oh. There’s an app for that too.