Pardon my French, but that's what I shouted (three times) when I saw this computer simulation of the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover), planned for 6th August, 2012:

Sometimes, we should try the impossible.

Eat that, Transformers! We are a totally awesome species for even thinking this might work.

Postscript: See also Curiosity Rover update.

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. It's an awesome bit of animation to start with. So many things could go wrong though...even slightly wrong would be enough. And there we go littering up Mars' surface too!

  2. It uses sky hooks!

    I saw this a while ago and thought that it looked the most amazing and incredibly f'ing complicated method for getting anything anywhere. You can just imagine the design meeting:

    So. How're we going to give this thing a soft landing on uneven ground then?
    I know! Let's drop it on a rope off a self-leveling rocket-powered coffee table! It'll only need to hover stably over one spot in utterly alien conditions for a couple of minutes.
    Yeah! Great plan! Let's do it!

    And they bloody well did!

    There were just such a huge number of things that must obviously go wrong that I didn't realise it had got this close to actually happening. I really really hope that it works because it's so exactly how you would expect an Imperial probe-droid to be delivered!

  3. You just know somebody suggested it tongue-in-cheek, nobody else realised, and, by the time they did, it was too late to go back.

    A real-life sky-hook! Seriously!

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