Today is the Curiosity rover’s fourth birthday, so get ready to party, nerds.
Just kidding. Get ready to cry all over your ergonomic keyboards and imagine the intrepid Mars explorer celebrating by singing “Happy Birthday” to itself, which it did for the first time in 2013.
Here’s what it sounds like:
As the Denver Post reported when Curiosity first set out in 2012, Colorado had a lot to do with all of this. The robot left Earth on a rocket made by the Centennial-based United Launch Alliance and entered Mars’ atmosphere protected by an aeroshell developed and built in Jefferson County by Lockheed Martin. Southwest Research Institute’s Boulder office made one of the instruments Curiosity carries, and earlier this year, CU Boulder researcher Raina Gough joined Curiosity’s science team.
Now here we are — Aug. 5, 2016 — and it’s time to celebrate Curiosity’s birthday again. In the above video, NASA technologist Florence Tan explains that the rover “sang” to itself on its first anniversary using the frequencies created by its sample analysis unit. It did this inside a crater, all alone on a planet hundreds of kilometers away.
This is meant to be fun and cute, but it’s making me incredibly sad for this unfeeling collection of ultra-high-tech parts.
Theory: This is part of a plan to get sympathetic youth interested in a future aerospace career in which they can help rescue Curiosity or maybe send him some robot buddies named Courage, Imagination and Sassy.
Happy birthday, Curiosity. We love and appreciate you.