Curiosity on Mars
One of the most historic feats of mankind occurred on August 5-6, 2012.
NASA's scientists and engineers landed a one ton very complex vehicle on the planet Mars. The landing itself was a testament to the ingenuity, education, training and imagination of mankind.
This NASA mission known as Curiosity represents a crowning experience. It will become the launching pad to establish the presence of life on another solar planet.
Curiosity traveled more than 350 million miles over an eight month journey to reach the surface of Mars.
The landing was exceedingly complex and completely controlled by software in combination with hardware that had zero tolerance for failure.
The men and women involved who became high school and college graduates owe a huge debt of gratitude to their teachers, professors, parents and mentors who are the unsung heroes of this amazing feat.
This should serve as a milestone to the importance of education in the United States. How could anyone not be impressed by the language of math, the depth of science and the precision of engineering that prevailed to accomplish this amazing landing?
The vehicle is a traveling laboratory that will enable an unprecedented view of the geology, chemistry, and biology into the history of Mars.
The intelligent machine landed in a very small target in the middle of a very large meteor crater that has a central uplift exposing a billion years of sedimentary history.
The primary mission is to establish the past evidence of bacterial life and even perhaps the present evidence of life.
Mars did have seas and rivers of water in its early history. Ice below the surface may still harbor life. On Earth the mass of bacterial life below the surface far exceeds the mass of life above the surface. Mars and Earth may be similar.
If you are a parent reading this column, consider the importance of education, science and math at the local, state and national level.