It has been a busy week for the United States in two far-flung places. Across the Atlantic Ocean in London, England, the U.S. Olympic team is racking up gold medals, while across millions of miles of outer space, the Mars rover Curiosity is racking up rocks from the Red Planet.
Bringing Home Gold
The U.S. women’s soccer team won their fourth gold medal yesterday, beating Japan 2-1. Carli Lloyd scored both goals for the U.S., while star goalie Hope Solo held on for the victory. After Japan beat the United States at the 2008 Olympics, some people wondered if America could be first again in women’s soccer. Lloyd showed the U.S. team was still the best in the world. “I was on a mission this Olympics to prove everybody wrong, and that's what I did,” said Lloyd.
Meanwhile, the U.S. women’s volleyball team took another giant step toward a gold medal, beating South Korea to advance to the finals. The top ranked team was near perfect Thursday, dropping only two sets in their thrilling victory. The women’s volleyball team hopes to win their first Olympic gold medal ever this year. The United States will compete against Brazil in the final on Saturday.
For more highlights from this week at the London Olympics, click here to view TFK's slide show.
In a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Mars may not be as glamorous a stage as the Olympics, but it’s definitely more exotic. On Thursday, the Mars rover Curiosity sent back it’s first-ever panoramic color photograph of the surface of Mars. The picture shows the rover in a 96-mile wide crater with the base of Mount Sharp, a three-mile high mountain, in the distance.
Curiosity touched down last Sunday in an impressive landing, complete with giant parachutes and a space ship that transformed itself into a sky crane to lower the rover onto the planet’s surface. The rover is on a 98-week mission to search for elements of life on Mars. Previous rovers have uncovered evidence suggesting that Mars could have once supported life, including certain minerals that generally only form in water. Scientists are hoping that Curiosity will confirm these findings by collecting soil samples, testing Martian air, and examining Martian rocks and landforms.