I could get quite depressed at the outcome of New Zealand's general election - a triumph of mediocrity if I've ever seen it. But it is a lovely Sunday morning in Wellington and news has come through of the successful launch of NASA's Curiosity mission to Mars. This incredibly advanced robotic rover, if it lands successfully on Mars, will significantly push forward our understanding of the Red Planet and whether any form of life is, or has been, sustainable there.
Amongst the self-indulgent political squabbles, the economic problems that beset the Western world, and the trivialisation of serious issues by the media, such news sticks out like a beacon of hope. Mankind continues to push forward with the use of its intelligence to make better tools that will one day take that intelligence into deep space. This news should cheer the most cynical of us.