The wires scream for release.
My eight hundred kilogram structure holds them taut while I debate my approach to the surface. I watch strong hydrazine jets constrain the sky crane in place. Its white tone quite a sharp contrast to the dull red world around it, humbly oozed adequate amounts steadily.
NASA/JPL-Caltech. 2011. nasa.gov. Web. 08 Oct. 2017.
The crane had retro rocketed a second after the tiny explosives freed the parachute, swiftly thrusting itself upwards until it hovered sixty feet above the ground before ejecting me into the thin atmosphere.
It now frowns down upon me and even through the feeble atmosphere, I swear I can hear it tell me to hurry the hell up. Really, Curiosity, who takes so long to open up?
I am glad to be the first ever rover to have a sky crane lower me on the surface. I really am. But dangling like a pendulum bob forty feet above ground can give you the chills. The surface sways below, its rustic color strongly hinting presence of iron. Well, we’ll find out about that. If, I make it to the ground.
I unfold my wheels gingerly, stopping mid-way half expecting the brisk atmosphere to suck them up. A minute later, jet black tires stare up at me from their uncomfortable position, waiting for my next command.
Atmosphere isn’t so devious, after all.
Satisfied, I open them fully, my long legs stretching out towards the surface that couldn’t seem to hold still. The streaks scarring it swing left and right as if to taunt me.
Meanwhile, the crane has managed to lower down to a few feet above the ground. It holds its position while I am pushed away from it, and land on the surface with a quite thud.
It took me a minute to fully realize the smooth touch of sand against my tires meant I had fully landed. Safe and sound.
NASA/JPL-Caltech. 2012. nasa.gov. Web. 08 Oct. 2017.
I stir to life the numerous computer chips inside me, waking them from their hibernation. They alert immediately, sensing ample amounts of carbon dioxide suspended all around.
I remember the crane and look upwards and mumbled my thanks. The wires had held on all through the long haul. They had complained. But they had held on. And that deserved a heartfelt acknowledgement.
The moment I do, tiny knives appear out of nowhere and snap the wires, dislodging me from the crane, once and for all.
NASA/JPL-Caltech. 2012. nationalgeographic.com. Web. 08 Oct. 2017.
I watch it sky rocket, and crash into the surface a short distance away. I wonder if that is its way of accepting my gratitude. Seconds later, it dawns upon me. Of course, why hadn’t I thought about it earlier? The earthlings back home had tweaked its wires for it to crash far away from me so that I avoid stepping over it during my mission. Which means I have to carefully move away from it to accomplish the same.
I breathe in the rusty Martian air, and begin.