Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The New Frontier; Our View; Mars Landing Is a Reminder of American Ingenuity; OPINION

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The New Frontier; Our View; Mars Landing Is a Reminder of American Ingenuity; OPINION

Article excerpt

The first and sure-to-be-enduring image of Mars from the Curiosity rover looks like something out of a post-apocalyptic novel. Dusty, mountainous, orange-tinged and deserted.

What the Mars landing means, however, is anything but. It's not about the end of civilization as we know it. It's about a new frontier.

In a statement released Monday, President Barack Obama said words that can be uttered only once: "Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history."

What a proud moment for our nation. Landing the one-ton, plutonium-fueled rover in and of itself was exceptional. Now, the scientists and engineers involved in the project, including (just to bring it a little closer to home) Raymond E. Arvidson, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished Washington University professor, get to use the rover to explore.

Mr. Arvidson, who has been poking around on Mars since 2004 with the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, will use Curiosity as an instrument to learn about Martian soils. …

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