AWE INSPIRING!!! That begins to describe the impact on human determination, discipline and innovation. Emotions ramped up with an excited and anxious audience of JPL Mars Science Laboratory Mission members and their family and friends awaited the official landing of MSL on Mars Sunday night at Beckman Auditorium at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.
Curiosity will begin her discovery of Mars unfolding the science to learn more about the Mars environment and possible forms of life on Mars. No, not likely to find any green men, but perhaps microbial life and indicators of what once was. You can decide this isn’t necessary if you believe it hard to justify the dollars spent. This car-sized rover, designed and built in the United States, employed thousands who embarked on discovery and innovation. It is our obligation to discover what came before and possible understand what may be.
I have a personal connection to this event so I am overwhelmed. I sat with others who had worked on the project or had a family member who has. We clapped, we cheered and yes, we held our breath waiting for the news of Curiosity’s successful landing. I think the perfection in this mission was clear. Those involved had the discipline to anticipate all the possibilities and the science, engineering and questioning needed to make it happen. This event is a lesson for all – students can learn and be inspired. The rest of us can take pride in our country and realize, that although education in The US is reported as not in good shape, many of these scientists and engineers were educated right here in our schools. They have learned teamwork and collaboration to work together so that every piece of this puzzle fell into place as it should.
Success is great. And yes, it could have not worked out. The full value of the mission is yet to determined. This experience was more than special for me and I have high hopes for the science that will be realized. I feel lucky, grateful and proud to have had my tiny part of it. It is a great day for science, engineering and the United States. We did it!!!! Godspeed Curiosity. The world will be watching you.
NASA update on the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory : http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-232