This is a great engineering success story. The engineers involved deserve to be superstars. Certainly they have contributed more to our society than Justin Bieber has. They are the people who should be on posters on our kids' walls.
This is really a great achievement, but I don't know about seeing it live. I did get up early to watch the lunar impact mission LCROSS in `09, and I really wish I had stayed up to watch Shoemaker Levy 9 (predictions said that it would not be visible). In reading my post it now seems like I'm the typical Action Movie audience.
This is indeed a great accomplishment. Reading about the process in previous articles, it seemed that the process was, well, a bit crazy (I think I mentioned Rube Goldberg). Crazy or not, it worked. This is a real engineering triumph.
I stayed to watch and while impressed with the result was more than disappointed with the televised portion. Why were over forty blue shirts necessary in control? If necessary, what were they monitoring? Were they all engineers or were manufacturer reps there? We saw NASA administrators in the back, but no mention of why they were there. There was a 14 minute communications delay so were we watching the equivalent of Olympic TV delayed "real time"? Where was the coverage of key points? For example, When was the parachute deployed and jettisoned? What was the range of impact for a "safe" landing? What would of happened had the crane cables not separated? Would Curiosity vehicle been crushed or overturned? How far away is the delivery crane? Where was the followup and event closure. Backslapping was deserved, after all that was apparent complete success after eight years planning and delivery, but there was no disipline that the room. While the work was spectacular, the public presentation was a disaster, and that is why space is underfunded. Oh, and by the way, if you want engineers and scientists to be rock stars, tell the public what they do in a way that the viewer can understand AND want to emulate. Where is the modern day Jules Bergman and his crew?
I don't have cable so I watched it live via Space.com and nasa.gov. Just like all of the real and aborted Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo launches I was intent on witnessing every anticipated step and exulting in each success. It didn't matter that it was 14 minutes delayed. Their success reminded me of why I became an engineer. I love the feeling that comes when something I conceived of comes to fruition. What a high. As Herbert Hoover said about his career as an engineer ". . . the engineer himself looks back at the unending stream of goodness which flows from his successes with satisfactions that few professions may know. And the verdict of his fellow professionals is all the accolade he wants." Congratulations to the team!
Hey Naperlou- I agree; -- on two points. At the very tail of the previous article I posted a congratulatory comment after the landing on Monday morning, but I also lampooned Mr. Obama's quoted congratulatory comment as "hollow". Almost seemed as if he was betting against them.
On the other note, comparing the technical complexities to a Rube Goldberg device, the lampoon continues. If I was given that first set of difficult variables at the onset of the challenge, (14 minute delay coupled with 7 minute descent) I think I would have suggested engineering a slower landing to take 28 minutes! Seems like an easier problem to solve!
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