This summer, if you want the world’s best story of international human triumph, you’ll have to look past London (even beyond the amazing hurdlers with very popular warm-up routines). You’ll have to look 200 million miles away, in fact, to discover a spectacular feat of endurance more grueling than the longest ultra-marathon. You’ll have to look to Mars. Yes, the planet. And the dream team that’s about to land NASA’s nuclear-powered super rover called Curiosity.
This one-ton, laser-beam-blasting wonder is going to land on Mars via a "sky crane." Most of us have zero idea what it does or why it’s going to Mars. That’s a real shame, because the Curiosity story is a modern epic of explorers on the path to discovering a second genesis. It will be a tiny blip on our summer radar — landing somewhere between the shot put finals and the Kimye engagement rumors — before it fades away without any of us ever knowing its true brilliance.
Why won’t you hear about it? Because NASA isn’t going to tell us. Sure, they’ll tell you a little bit — press conferences about what they discovered, an inspirational video. NASA partners will create fun websites, and bits of awesome will trickle out. But there is a larger narrative tragedy, and it’s a bigger conspiracy than any tinfoil-hatted crank could come up with — a conspiracy born out of fear.