WASHINGTON -- It was 10 years ago that two Mars Rovers -- Spirit and Opportunity -- after a journey of seven months, bounced onto the Martian surface and began to explore while beaming hundreds of thousands of photos back to Earth.
John Grant is the curator of a new exhibit of Mars rover photos at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington. He says one of his favorite photos is of the tracks from Opportunity.
it is a very desolate plain showing how the rover is just sort of moving by itself across
the surface of Mars," he says. "Reminiscent of a ship out in the
middle of the ocean."
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Some photos make visitors feel like they're standing on Mars, like one of a sunset.
"It created this image that is iconic in the sense that everybody on the Earth has seen a sunset, and they look at this image, and it's so familiar in some ways, but a little bit alien, a little bit different in others," Grant says. "Every day, the images come down, and you're looking at something no one has ever seen before -- no human being."
Grant hopes the exhibit will help pass along his passion for discovery to a new generation of scientists.
"When the kids come in, I want them to look at these images and say, 'I can do that. I want to do this. I want to go to Mars and be that person that stands on the planet,'" he says.
A planet that is even more photogenic than the Mars of science fiction.