I Want To See Mars in 1080p

I love the Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, and feel that we really got a major return from our taxes with these two robots.  However, I have a request for NASA.  I want them to send a robot that films its Mars roving adventures in HD at 1080p so watching the video will feel like walking on Mars.  That means, the cameras need to be at head height, and the vehicle needs to move along at the same clip as an average walker.  We could call it the Mars Hiker mission.

Oh, and I want sound.  I don’t know if there’s much sound on Mars, but I want to hear what’s going on, even if it’s just the whir of the robotic motors.  And while the NASA’s engineers are at it, provide readouts at the bottom of the screen for temperature, air pressure, wind speed, time of day, etc.  Anything to help me feel like I’m rambling around on Mars.  And it would be unbelievably cool if the rover actually walked like a man, and could climb up places that a rover couldn’t go.  It doesn’t have to be a technical mountain climber, but I’d want the Hiker to visit places equivalent to hiking around Yellowstone Park.

I don’t know if it’s possible, but I’d love to see the night sky on Mars, and what the stars and Milky Way look like from such a dark planet.  Another thing I’d like the Mars Hiker to do, is walk up to a Viking lander.  For my final wish, I’d like to watch the robot build something on Mars.

I suppose we haven’t had videos from Mars, the Moon, Titan and other landing sites because the bandwidth is beyond what NASA can send back home, but we have a lot of Geek power on planet Earth, so I’m hoping tech wizards can solve that problem.

I don’t want robots to have all the space traveling fun.  I understand it might be too expensive, dangerous and impractical to send humans on these missions, but I NASA could make their missions more of a collective exploration experience.  I wonder if engineers could design a helmet to wear while communing with the Mars Hiker, so that we could have an even more immersing experience?  I would have loved to have worn such a helmet during the recent Hubble repair mission.

I’ve resigned myself to never becoming an astronaut, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t treasure the vicarious thrill of remote viewing.  It’s pretty pathetic to have robot envy, but hey, I’ll take my space kicks any way I can.

JWH – 6/4/9

5 thoughts on “I Want To See Mars in 1080p”

  1. I would like that, too, and your name — the Mars Hiker mission — has my vote.

    Since I have been reading your blog, my memory banks have been tickled to go back to the classic science fiction that I enjoyed so much as a young teenager. I grew up in 1950’s Florida when the elementary schools conducted nuclear bomb drills. We stockpiled water in our classrooms and the drills basically involved putting our heads down on our desks (like nap time). Yep. That would have saved us, all right!

  2. Beth, I also grew up in Florida in the 1950s and 1960s, in Miami. I remember those bomb drills. I remember in the 2nd grade our teacher telling us we were going to have a bomb drill the next day, and since my father was in the Air Force and I knew about B-52s, I was expecting them to fly over the playground and drop some test bombs. I was very disappointed when all we did was duck under our desks for a couple of minutes.

    Where did you grow up? I lived as far north as Hollywood, Florida and as far south as Homestead. My favorite place was Coconut Grove.

  3. What a brilliant idea – walking on Mars vicariously. I wonder if they’d also be able to give us scent. What sort of smell would Mars have? Provided we lasted long enough to take a breath and find out.

    Bomb drills? I really have led a sheltered life. During the 60s and 70s when I was growing up here in Australia the greatest threat was your parents finding out you smoked or were having sex before marriage.

    I grew up in a totally insulated culture – we were so far away from the rest of the world, nothing could touch us and that belief was fostered for a long time. To some degree it still is – it’s an ostrich head in the sand attitude.

  4. I was born in Miami (1951), but our family moved to Tampa when I was 6, and then Brandon (where I graduated from high school). I went to Univ. of Florida, the FSU, lived in Tallahassee for about 10 years, and have been in Pensacola for the last 27.

    Your Dad must have been at Homestead AFB? My brother-in-law (Charles Haas, retired AF) was stationed there for awhile. Wasn’t it destroyed during Hurricane Andrew?

  5. Beth, I was born in Ohio, in 1951, near Wright-Patterson AFB, but my family had moved back to Maimi by 1953, where my sister was born. My father’s family moved to Miami around 1924-25 from Nebraska. I lived on base at Homestead Air Base from 1961-63, and attended Air Base Elementary. Yes, Hurricane Andrew destroyed Homestead AFB, and a few years later I went back to see it, and they had bulldozed the whole thing flat. It was grass and old blacktop roads, looking like a giant circuitboard pattern. I had lived on Maine Avenue.

    It’s strange how many people I’m meeting online that are our age. I think we’re all looking backwards together.

    Jim

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