On August 5th 2012, I sat back for over 6 hours watching the live streaming feeds from NASA for the Mars Curiosity landing. I was so excited and enthusiastic that I could follow what was happening at JPL and also learn from the speakers talking about the technology and science behind the landing and rover. For many year you would hear and read about landings like this but always wonder what it was like at the control center. I remember when the first images from Curiosity came through and there was Mars as live as I will ever get to see it.
Well thanks to live streaming, about 3.2 million people watched the landing online. That is an amazing number of people to watch something like this online. That is about the number of people that tune in to watch a TV show or sports event but instead this was science and history in the making. The great thing was watching the control room explode in happiness as touchdown was confirmed and as pictures of Mars came through.
It is events like these that make me proud to be a scientist and one who studies the wonders of space. This is the age of science where there is still so much more to explore and to understand. We have already learned so much from Curiosity being on Mars for just one year. So far we know that the radiation is just far to high for normal human exposure even with some space suits which means if we do travel to and colonize Mars that we will need better defenses. We also now know that Mars did have an ecosystem and life along with running water. All of these findings and many more will help us for when we finally get around to colonizing Mars (hopefully in my lifetime) and being successful.
As a nice touch to celebrate Curiosity’s first birthday is the SAM chem lab on board played the Happy Birthday song. Included are two videos; the first talking about some of the discoveries Curiosity has made and the second is NASA’s Happy Birthday message. Also you can click here to a link to my post last year about Curiosity and her mission. Enjoy and keep learning.