Wheels Down On Mars

“Touchdown confirmed. We’re safe on Mars.” After those six words, the control room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena erupted in cheers. The eight-month, 350-million mile journey to Mars ended with a near-perfect landing (EDL) of the Curiosity rover on the surface of The Red Planet. Just a few minutes after touchdown, Curiosity began sending back its first images of the Martian surface. It was a brilliant moment to watch live, especially since I have had a fascination with space, and the space program, since I was a kid. In high school, my English teacher, Miss Copeland, gave me the entire 13-volume set of Carl Sagan’s brilliant series, Cosmos, and I was hooked. Seeing events like the Curiosity landing are akin to Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, or the first launch of the Space Shuttle. They give us glimpses of us at our best; they show what innovation and creativity are truly capable of and they leave us awestruck, eyes wide and mouth agape in the wonderment of vistas beyond our Pale Blue Dot. Mechanical Systems Lead, Dr. Adam Steltzner had this to say in his last tweet of the night:


Curiosity - First image from Mars