Curiosity is an everlasting flame that burns in everyone’s mind. – Clara Ma, winner of the Mars Science Laboratory naming contest
When I start writing a blog post, the first thing I do is search for, (or make) the cover image for the post. So, as always, I fired up Google Images and began a simple search – “Curiosity” – thinking that I would be met with many abstract images, and quotes; but no. What filled most of my screen were images of a strange robot traversing a strange planet. I thought it must have been a mistake, so I tried a few alternate searches using additional words such as “wallpaper” or “graphic” but still the strange robot remained.
So, on the advice of Emily Graslie’s TED Talk, I decided to go down a wikipedia rabbit hole of my own. Along the rabbit hole, I encountered information from all ends of the reliability-spectrum; and I encountered information which contradicted or opposed other information I found. First, a quick glance at Wikipedia informed me that Curiosity is in fact the name of the Mars Rover whose mission is to determine whether Mar’s is suitable for sustaining life. From here, I learned that the robot was named via a nationwide student contest (the winner is quoted above) and among it’s top 5 discoveries is the discovery of evidence of ancient water flows. However, such evidence was disputed, and it was also suggested that the robot is falling apart, thus its discoveries are unreliable and it is questionable whether or not it’s mission will be completed.
And that, was the story of how my innocent search for a cover image led me to discover everything there is to know about Curiosity – The Mars Rover. A story which, I feel, speaks volumes to the power of the internet to inform – due to its ready availability of multitudes of information. And our responsibility to determine which information is true, and useful.
What’s the weirdest internet rabbit-hole you’ve been down? Comment below.