The first recorded human voice transmission from Mars

Snip from statement of Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator, speaking via broadcast from the Curiosity Rover on the surface of Mars: "The knowledge we hope to gain from our observation and analysis of Gale Crater, will tell us much about the possibility of life on Mars as well as the past and future possibilities for our own planet. Curiosity will bring benefits to Earth and inspire a new generation of scientists and explorers, as it prepares the way for a human mission in the not too distant future."


  1. So NASA transmitted the message to Mars, where it was received by Curiosity and then transmitted back to Earth, where it was received by… NASA.

    That was a day well spent.

    1. The engineering team needed some data to test with, so why not use a video? The motions were already going to be taken, but using a video instead made for a nice tidbit of news.

      1. Not really.  It made for a tidbit of news.   A nice tidbit of news would perhaps actually be important. 

        It’s kind of like announcing “Martian Rover discovers evidence of intelligently produced artifacts on Mars!” because it managed to take a picture of itself.  True, but not really important… or at least, important in a way we’ve already gotten past, and it’s disingenuous to act like it’s a stunning new development.

        Once you’ve gotten past the first big leap (they’ve gotten a machine to Mars, which is admittedly very cool) the secondary news isn’t very important.  What they did didn’t mean anything other than they successfully transmitted a large amount of data back.  That’s all it is is prerecorded data, and we’ve received data back from Mars before… live data, which is even more important. 

        That we’re receiving data again isn’t really all that newsworthy, and what particular form it’s in is kind of meaningless, really.  We could have a lifetime full of equivalently important “firsts” lined up for us: “This marks the first time that an Elvis Presley song was transmitted from another planet.”  “This marks the first time an anti-Obama rant was transmitted from another planet.”  “This marks the first time a LOLCATZ picture was transmitted from another planet.”  “This marks the first time a photoshopped picture replacing classic Doctor Who scenes with a dog and the caption: ‘Dogtor Who’ has been transmitted from another planet.”  All just as important. 

        1. The way I read this announcement and the announcement, it seemed to me that these were public education/public interest press releases. Something to perk the interest of the public, as it were. Sure, there’s nothing truly important in them, but I think trying to get more folks interested in science is a worthy goal.

          That being said, “The first recorded human voice transmission from Mars” is a lot more interesting to the average person than “Total cumulative data volume has reached over 7GB”. The latter is much more interesting to me personally but I can understand why NASA didn’t make that the main headline.

          The underlying data point of the whole “first recorded human voice” announcement is that they’ve reached data rates of over 2Mbps, which is astonishing given the distances involved.

          Anyway, I replied because of the “That was a day well spent.” comment. The impact to the mission was minimal as they were already going through the motions, they just uploaded a different set of data than just plain test data.

          1. I want to set up a cage match between and whoever programmed the Disqus link recognition function.

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