It's Happening: Cheers to NASA and Rover Curiosity
History was about to be made – the landing of the most sophisticated roving lab to land on another planet.
This creative scientific ingenuity and adventurous spirit is the kind of stuff “Star Wars” was made of. Only it wasn’t a mega-million box office smash-hit movie. It was real life.
It was a display of NASA space technology at its greatest; a meeting of the scientific minds. Many gathered to share the moment of celebration. The excitement that was generated in that room during the moments leading up to Curiosity’s grand entrance was as inspiring to me as the mission itself.
The probing of the surface of the red planet wasn’t likely to change my life or yours.
But the story told by the faces of the NASA engineers very well could.
I mean, look what can be accomplished of people in one accord – working diligently together to accomplish a common goal.
All of their combined effort, acquired knowledge and technical expertise were necessary factors in sending a spacecraft about the size of a small SUV millions of miles into orbit and pinpointing its destination.
As that happened, each announcement of the spacecraft’s step-by-step success was met with applause, whistles and shouts of cheer. There were also plenty of hand slaps and hugs. This was good stuff; the best late-night TV entertainment ever.
We joined in their triumph, but many of us didn’t understand the phases of those successes.
Scientists and engineers knew that the spacecraft had to reconfigure several times as it approached the fourth rock from the sun. Speed had to go from 13,000 to just over 1,000 miles per hour. Much like those Transformers that our kids used to play with, Curiosity had to go from hypersonic space capsule to a rover on wheels. Then, its parachute had to correctly deploy so it would land in one piece and rockets had to fire to allow for hovering capabilities.
Curiosity touched down on Gale Crater, just a mile and a half from the targeted bullseye. Years of planning, studying and research went into that end result.
Cheers to NASA. I celebrate with you. I love knowing that a unified effort of passion can accomplish things that are out of this world.