Remember the scene in WALL-E when our titular hero and Eve are floating around in outer space, and upon their discovery of their ability to navigate the dark void, they start doing a poetic dance around the Axiom ship? Of course you do, but if not, here it is:
The reason I bring it up is because this is about to happen in real life... sort of: NASA is preparing to send a pair of cubesats (small, suitcase-sized satellites) named Wall-E and Eva (after Wall-E's endearing pronunciation) to Mars, as Mashable notes. NASA is launching the InSight lander to Mars on Saturday, and the cubesats -- together called MarCO, short for Mars Cube One -- will be on the same rocket.
Wall-E and Eva have an important mission, too: Cubesats have never traveled millions of miles through deep space, so far having only been developed for Earth's orbit, so this serves as a test to see if they will be able to relay information from the InSight lander back to Earth. It would be great if this ends up working because cubesats are significantly lighter and cheaper than traditional spacecraft, but it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, since InSight depends on other orbiters for communication.
If they do work, the technology could be sent to distant planets and moons to make communication from these celestial bodies to Earth easier, or in some cases, possible at all. And that's just another reason why WALL-E is one of the best movies of all time.
Featured image: Disney/Pixar
More for the science person!
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- 8 brilliant Princess Leia moments from Star Wars comics!