Mars — Inspiration from the Perseverance Team

Roger McDonald
2 min readFeb 23, 2021
Courtesy of NASA

The Mars landing highlighted for me how America is different. It was not the scientific and engineering feat, the discipline, or the accomplishment itself, as incredible as these are. It was, rather, to see and hear from the project team and how that team illustrates why our journey through history is unprecedented.

The team of women and men is from so many ethnic, racial, and undoubtedly religious backgrounds. And somehow our country has made this work.

Correction: not “somehow.” Our nation achieves these things because of the values, beliefs, and commitment to a world where all humans are partners in a shared journey.

I have lived and worked for years in China, Japan, the U.K., and India. I am so impressed in many ways of the achievements of each civilization. And yet, I am always reminded that, as imperfect as we are, and as seemingly divided as we are today, this experiment of “America” I believe is indeed humanity’s last best hope.

As a student years ago, I early on became intrigued with this observation about societies. For most villages, tribes, “civilizations,” if you were not related through bloodline or mutual dependence, or if you were different racially, religiously, or ethnically, then somehow you were not part of the human family.

Often, over time, the bounds of these exclusions loosened to include more people. One may argue causes — that economics, self-serving priorities, war, or other political and societal forces have been at the root of this evolution.

But what matters is that it has been happening for thousands of years as disparate human populations came in contact with each other.

One thing that makes us “America,” and what many other civilizations lack, is our commitment to and practice of inclusion, in spite of the barriers that exist and in spite of the cycles of conflict with movements of “nationalism” and populism that attempt to divide through racial, ethnic, and gender hurting. And let us not forget that, as imperfect as we are, we have a social contract, the Constitution, that we, the people can and do change and update to make for a fairer, freer, and more inclusive civilization.

So, this is my dream: That we indeed are the hope of the world; that we will be stewards and partners helping to protect, include and nurture the human journey.

Thank you to the Perseverance Team, for everything that you have done and will continue to do! You are a shining example of who we can be and what we can achieve as a united people in spite of the many differences among us.



Roger McDonald

Born and raised by the ocean in New England, lived in Japan, China, the U.K., India; Problem solver and mediator, lifelong passion to help make democracy work.