Phoenix Lands On Mars--Don't Take It For Granted.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on May 27, 2008

I saw the amazing Mars probe Phoenix at the Serious Play conference at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and it was truly incredible. The JPL folks are just down the road in Pasadena and they brought a Phoenix to the conference. This hand-crafted artifact, seen up-close, take your breath away. Then, three weeks ago, it was unclear whether it would successfully land on Mars. The scientists were pretty nervous. The previous two Rover probes were encased in big balloons which broke their falls when they hit the planet. The Phoenix was too big for that and used rocket engines to slow down.

Now we know the Phoenix has landed safely and will soon be zapping dirt to figure out if there might be life on Mars. Check out the video.

We’ve lost the wonder of space travel and need to regain it. We take it for granted—or disregard it entirely. As John Seely Brown and John Hagel say, innovation occurs on the edges, whether it’s surfing the big ones in Hawaii or exploring Mars and the planets beyond earth.

Reader Comments

Chris Loughnane

May 28, 2008 3:37 AM

I agree that the world would be better served if we regain our wonder of space travel. In fact, I think it's obvious... and thats the problem.

Perhaps I've been jaded, but it seems that if this really was as difficult as it was made out to be(wasn't this done in the 70s?, were there different circumstances) , it seems the government would have more to lose by airing a crash than it would gain by airing a success. I would like to imagine that they have the guts to put themselves out there like that, I just dont think it's the case.

It is a great technical success but to the average person, the storyline of putting a robot on mars 40 years after we put a living, breathing, man on the moon is not a very sensational story.

NASA needs a new PR company

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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