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Ross: Why we’re all excited about the Mars landing

Engineer Kris Bruvold celebrates as the InSight lander touch downs on Mars, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/(Al Seib /Los Angeles Times via AP, Pool)

I still find a successful NASA landing fascinating – and I am not alone. Just consider the cheering and excitement seen in the control room Monday as the InSight lander completed its journey to Mars.

The landing was even shown on the NASDAQ stock exchange screen in New York.

I think we’re excited because it’s a reminder that complicated things can turn out right. This trip from Earth to Mars was a 300-million-mile pass completion. I was half-expecting the NFL office in New York to reverse it. But it even met their definition of a landing!

It tells you humans can do anything. From time-to-time you have to appreciate the level of complexity we live with every day, and how most of the time, it works.

Just consider your commute. It can be terrible – but ultimately almost all of us arrive safely, day after day. Do you realize how many things have to go right for that to happen? Millions of mechanical vehicles have to operate without breaking down. All the traffic lights have to work. Everybody has to remember to get gas and use the bathroom before they leave. The radio has to function for you to even hear my commentary. What are the chances?

Ah, but even better than all that — is the feeling of control. Knowing that, this time, we get to be the mysterious aliens. Those little Martian bacteria are right now desperately swapping blurry pictures trying to figure out what just happened. And we’re not telling.

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