We are dealing with the beginnings of what could end up being life, or pre-life, or at least simple organics on Mars. Whether the agency will step up to the plate and properly seize this priceless moment is an open question.
About eight months ago, a NASA Atlas V rocket launched the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity toward its August 5 encounter with the Red Planet. Now, just a few weeks before the rover is set to land, people are starting to get nervous and excited.
It has often seemed over the years that there are two government space programs. One is bold and experimental in its style and approach, giving me and the millions of other Americans who are paying for this something for our money.