The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Curiosity landing restores faith in science

On Aug. 6, the Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity, successfully landed on the Red Planet.

As I was watching the command room burst into applause, hugs and tears, my thoughts went to how incredible and complex all the science and math behind the landing is.

Fifty years ago during the adolescence of the Space Race most people would dismiss you as a loon if you said that there would be a fully functioning chemistry lab rolling around on the Martian surface with enough power to operate for 14 years.

But we have that technology now. NASA and other global space programs have given us incredible technological advancements at an unprecedented rate.

As a senior electrical engineering student, I am thoroughly familiar with Moore’s law, a predictive equation that models how many transistors we can fit onto an integrated circuit.
The equation is exponential, so as we gain technology we are better able to create more technology faster.

This implies that our phones and computers will continue to get smarter and faster. But something about this picture doesn’t sit right with me.

I remember walking into a movie ten years ago and seeing everyone talking to each other. Recently I went to a theater and sat in the back row.

I was amazed at how many people had their phones out, playing games, texting, etc. All of this technology is allowing people to withdraw into their own tech world.

Our advanced internet and global communication have drawn our attention to a bunch of dancing pixels in our palms.
Curiosity is currently starting its mission on Mars. NASA has stated that:

“The overarching science goal of the mission is to assess whether the landing area has ever had or still has environmental conditions favorable to microbial life, both its habitability and its preservation.”

Curiosity is going to be searching for life on the surface of Mars for the next 14 years. What happens if they find something out there?

If we get some hard evidence of life out there on that red speck in our night sky, then this is going to be an amazing time to be alive.

If we could get something to make us look up into the night sky with a sense of wonder and awe – something to get us to pull our heads away from our phones and stare into the rest of our universe – we could begin to expand as a people.
Science is going to take us into the future. Not consumerism. Not Facebook.

Science leads to the kind of technology that lets us get out of this metaphorical cul-de-sac and go explore the rest of the universe.

Devon is a senior majoring in electrical engineering.

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