The Mars InSight successfully landed on Mars on Monday after a seven-month journey.
It's the first of several challenges NASA faces as it explores the Red Planet, learning about the interior of Mars and gathering scientific data that can pave the way for astronauts to eventually return to the moon and, one day, land on Mars.
Astronauts have been gathering data and performing experiments aboard the International Space Station in advance of the Red Planet landing, and now NASA has leapt over that with an accomplishment that would have impressed Jules Verne.
Continued exploration and, perhaps, one day, colonization are ahead, but for now, we should be proud to witness an accomplishment that can be shared with the world. On the ISS, scientists have been learning about how gravity affects health, plants and water, among other things. It may seem like a leap too far, but every major discovery seems that way in its initial stages.
We commend NASA and all those involved in their mission. We look forward to the next discovery.
We Can't Forget Afghanistan
Seventeen years after 9/11, the war in Afghanistan has claimed more lives.
NATO reported three U.S. service members were killed over the weekend in a war that seems to have no end. This comes just days after a Washington state-based sergeant was killed in action in Helmand Province, according to the Department of Defense. The identities of the three latest casualties have not been released.
The war triggered by the 9/11 attacks has dragged on for seven years, and yet, it still continues to claim American lives. The Taliban, which harbored 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, is reported to be as strong as ever, and Afghan residents have now come to resent the Americans' presence; they had regarded us heroes who liberated them from a repressive regime, but the war seems as unending to them as it does to us.
We haven't forgotten the men and women who gave their lives in the war in Afghanistan, which still harbors al-Qaida, although not to the extent it did before the 9/11 attacks. And attacks with the Islamic State were reportedly involved in clashes with NATO in recent days.
It's well past time to end the war in Afghanistan and root out the remains of the terrorists who killed so many people.
Trade War Update
President Trump is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week. We are hopeful some of the advance rhetoric will encourage the two leaders to end their trade impasse and at least recognize that a trade war is in no one's best interest. To put it simply, it only creates more problems for both countries at a time when neither country can afford it.
It's a no-win situation here, and we are not encouraged based on what we've heard so far.
REPRINTED FROM THE PANAMA CITY NEWS HERALD