In January 2004 the plucky little rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on opposite sides of Mars, each with a planned three-month mission.
They would roll over the planet’s surface, produce panoramic images of a depth and quality previously unseen from another planet, and provide us with invaluable knowledge about Martian geology and history, particularly the history of Martian water.
That original mission has long been accomplished and now, five years later they’re both still going.
Not necessarily going strong, because living way past their planned lifespan has led to a lot of wear and tear. But they’re still going.
This is a testament to what can be achieved when our desire for exploration and knowledge is harnessed.
We don’t need to do that anymore.
Whether we’re looking outwards to space or into the smallest particles, we have the ability to not only formulate the questions, but also to find the answers.
They may be small, but the rovers represent one more step out into the Universe. And one more step on the path to our future among the stars.