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Workers from home are controlling a rover on Mars: Paying forward the gift of creativity

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Workers from home are controlling a rover on Mars: Paying forward the gift of creativity
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover takes a selfie on May 12, 2019. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA employees are running the Mars Curiosity rover from home.

Two days after the space agency instructed its employees to work remotely, its most remote employee sprang into action as the Curiosity rover began drilling a rock sample.

This was made possible by what science operations team chief Carrie Bridge called “classic, textbook NASA.” She explained: “We’re presented with a problem and we figure out how to make things work. Mars isn’t standing still for us; we’re still exploring.”

Operators are using headsets, monitors, and other equipment from home to remotely control the robot. Tasks take an hour or two longer than they normally would, but the rest is business as usual.

Paying forward the gift of creativity

Creativity is one way we express the divine image in which we were created. In fact, acting creatively was our first action after we were created.

Shortly after God made man and “every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens,” he “brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name” (Genesis 2:19).

Artist Julia Cameron is right: “We are ourselves creations. We are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves. This is the God-force extending itself through us. Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using creativity is our gift back to God.”

Maya Angelou added: “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

These are unprecedented days on so many levels. Every one of us is facing challenges we couldn’t have anticipated a few months ago. But an obstacle can be an opportunity. One way we can join God in redeeming this pandemic is by serving him and others in ways we were not doing before the pandemic began.

Stay-at-home regulations can be an invitation to more time alone with our Father in prayer, meditation, and the discipline of listening to his Spirit. Time with our spouse and children can be used creatively to deepen and broaden our relationships. Creative ways to work can be extended when the pandemic ends.

If NASA employees can find a way to control a rover on Mars from their homes, what innovative way can you find to love your Father and your neighbor today?

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