Let’s distract ourselves from the first workday after a long weekend by thinking about space. Did you hear the Mars Curiosity rover launched successfully on Saturday? We shot something into space, will guide it along the 350 million mile trip, and will be able to use it to study another planet remotely–incredible! A thousand years ago humanity didn’t even know about basic sanitation, and now we’re going to study Mars.

Here’s the New York Times coverage; the Bad Astronomy blog has a collection of launch videos and a NASA-produced overview of how exactly they plan to land the thing (parachutes and rockets, oh my!). Read up on it and get lots of perspective on your life here on this planet.