Yup, double entendre intended! I’ve always been a curious fellow, but right at the moment, I’m referring to the Mars Science Laboratory. Very soon, we’ll find out how Curiosity did during our seven minutes of white-knuckled nerves.
Gale Crater, Curiosity’s target area, has been on Mars landing site catalogs for many years. It’s in an interesting area on Mars, and not just for the much-ballyhooed “find signs of life” stuff. The geology (never mind giving me a hard time about that word) is complex. Being near the equator, there’s plenty of sunlight and temperature differences to make
Getting a spacecraft to Mars is a difficult task. Getting a lander safely to the surface of Mars is even more difficult. Curiosity’s landing challenge is going to the toughest challenge ever faced by a spacecraft. There’s no guarantee in the space flight business. On second thought, there is one. I can guarantee that the people who’ve worked on this project have poured a good bit of their lives into it. Their mechanical progeny has already returned a great deal of data, so they can take great pride in what they’ve already achieved.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve worked in aerospace, and I never worked on a project as intricate and momentous as the Mars Science Laboratory. (Not even close!) But — I had enough time in the business to have an idea how edgy a lot of people are right now.
Why not join me (in concept, that is!) on Monday, 2012 August 06, 0530 UTC (1:30 am EDT? Raise a cheer for the people who’ve invested so much into this mission, regardless what happens. Raise a louder cheer if all goes well!