Residents of Chile went to bed last night in a quiet South American nation often misclassified as a third-world country. They awoke this morning to find their homeland transformed by live updates and dramatic video into a beacon of inspiration and hope for the entire planet. Via TPM:
The amazing rescue efforts have cost millions of dollars, and involved experts from dozens of countries. Even NASA has lent a hand. Each roundtrip of the rescue capsule bringing the miners back to the surface has taken about an hour.
It started late last night as a slender spaceship-like capsule appropriately named Phoenix knifed into the hard surface of the Atacoma scrub again and again, ferrying four brave paramedics far below the world's driest desert, and carrying once trapped miners to waiting family members and an international coalition of engineers and technicians waiting breathlessly above. The Phoenix, appropriately named, poetically rising through the sinuous twists and turns in a borehole less than three feet wide and over two thousand feet deep. It's almost tailor made for film and screen.
Analysts estimate over one billion people have already watched the rescue unfold, and joined in with the cheers of onlookers in what has been named Camp Hope, all due in large part to the transparency of the Chilean government and advances in technology. While not every miner is free yet, and it's not over until the last is safely out, the effect so far on a growing global audience has been profound.
And why not? For one brief and precious moment, the whole world enjoys, indeed cheers, the fruits of good science, good government, and good will.