Monday, August 6, 2012

Curiosity, or "How you know you married a nerd"

I guess it's only appropriate that my first post would be about something so nerdy as to be almost embarrassing.  Tonight at 10:31 PM PDT (05:31 UTC), NASA landed a rover (Curiosity) on the surface of Mars.  I watched the live video feed from the control room from the point the rover entered the atmosphere until they received confirmation that it had landed (and uploaded some pictures).

Here are some lovely pictures of me watching the action:

And this is a video shot without my knowledge showing the actual moment they knew it had landed (the rover had actually landed 14 minutes earlier, but that's how long it takes the signal to get back to Earth).

I admit it.  I'm a nerd.  I like science and math, watching scifi shows and spending long periods of time reading random Wikipedia articles.  I genuinely got excited about this.  More excited than I had expected I would.  The fact that we can take a 4 ton spacecraft, launch it from Earth, send it through space for 253 days and land it on Mars within an area 12 miles by 4.3 miles is just incredible to me.  

Here are some pictures sent back by the rover.

This is the very first thumbnail.  Don't bother clicking on it.  This is as big as it gets.

 This is a higher res version of the same picture.  You can see one of Curiosity's wheels.

Here is another picture.  You can see the afternoon shadow cast by the rover.  So cool!

Anyway, I had fun watching this tonight.  It was exciting.  It makes me think about helping to design spaceships to take astronauts to Mars.  Being an engineer is so much fun!  

OK, I should probably get to sleep.  That is, if I can convince Brooke to put down her book and come to bed.  I'm not the only nerd in this family.  We may be different kinds, but we're both nerdy.

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