A Magnificent Victory

     It was a wonderful moment of achievement.  It took 10 years of hard work, sacrifice, and determination.  Countless hours were spent strategizing, analyzing, designing, and reviewing.   All led up to one moment that would end up as an outstanding success, or a disastrous failure.  There would not be a chance for a second try.  It was all or nothing.  The London Olympics have produced some wonderful and memorable moments, but this is not what I am referring to.   It is the scene of NASA scientists and engineers exploding with joy when they realized that the Curiosity rover reached Mars, and landed successfully.

     I am not always happy with the way the media reports certain topics, but I have to give them credit for repeatedly showing the moment when the mission was completed.  You could only smile when you saw this group of scientists and engineers jumping out of their seats, giving each other high fives, and shouting in a chorus of cheers.  Why is this so important?  It shows that people who work in this field are human.  They aren’t the stereotypical mad scientists or nerds so often portrayed, but real people.  It also highlighted the fact that there are a significant number of women who contribute in the creation of these incredible works.

     What they accomplished was a scientific and technological marvel.  It has been compared to a sci-fi movie about space.  But this was no movie, this actually occurred.  Many hours were spent developing and working toward a goal of providing a vehicle that will relay information about our nearest neighbor.  Images and tests will be transmitted back to earth adding information to the puzzle of how this planet and the universe formed.  With all the virtual images available at our fingertips, these real images will make people stop and take a look.  They might actually listen to or read the reports of what is being shown.

     America is in dire need of more of young people pursuing engineering and the sciences.  It requires years of study and hard work, but the payoff can be great.  There are jobs readily available, and there are a number of different areas where these skills are needed.  The Curiosity landing was a great example of what can be accomplished.  It gave us a glimpse of how interesting the work can be, and how necessary it is that we continue to develops projects that extend knowledge, advance technology, and provide services.  This week we saw a room full of people celebrate their victory and… dare I say it….what they did was cool.  Very cool.

Watch the landing and the reaction at this site.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9hXqzkH7YA

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