Monday, August 06, 2012


Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

No better name for it. The flight director
admits ‘I get butterflies every now and then.’

After the excitement of the spidery
EDL, the never-tried-before

sky-crane, the flare of rockets, the softened thud,
the red dust recovering on the earless plain ––

there are little alien sounds, clicks
and the hum of motors, calibrated wheels

laying down, scrupulous and slow,
an incremental script in the pristine

pigment scattered just so. It focuses, sniffs ––
carbon? carbon? yes? yes? no? ––

and gets the better of us, bomb-detection robot
on an abandoned street, face pressed

to a steamed-up kitchen window: night
and the neighbours have switched on their blinds;

what are the sepia-pink shadows –– that loom, blur
and disappear –– doing now?

Photo, taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows Curiosity having deployed its parachute.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona.

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