I was so surprised and happy to see that we were going to get a new, bigger better rover on mars. I love astronomy but I'm a big noob and I don't really follow the goings-on very closely. I didn't hear about the new rover until the day before it launched lol. Anyway, a couple questions popped up. Why exactly have they decided to send this one? Did they determine through the other two, that the planet is more attractive for manned visit (and maybe eventual colonization) than we first thought? It seems like they launched those other two rovers and then bam, a short time later, they're sending a bigger better one that can tell us more. So is there some specific purpose, some cause for excitement? And thus, a cause for the relatively speedy launch of the latest rover? Or is it just that the space program is moving faster these days and they decided that the first two rovers didn't tell us quite enough.
Also, a side question. I'm sure you've all heard of that "Colonize Mars Now" (or whatever the heck its called) organization. Where that one guy wants to send a habitat pod every 4 years with no return trip. At least, no return trip in the near future. All the pods would land next to each other and connect. Anyway, to get to the point. Do you think it could be possible that there is gold on mars? Possibly near the surface in a rich vein? I think that if the rover could determine that there was, we could start having man missions to mars now. As in right now. The gold (or even platinum or possibly silver) is so valuable that when brought back to earth in sufficient quantities, (which given current gold prices wouldn't take much) it could fund the whole missions easily. Probably even rake in a nice profit. And thus, we'd be launched into permanently colonizing mars and we'd be launched into becoming an official world colonizing race. Thoughts? Opinions?