Curiosity on Mars

by

After countless tests, including: drive tests, arm movement tests, thermal vacuum chamber tests, centrifuge tests, drop tests, pull tests, load tests, stress tests, shorting test (intentionally shorting the vehicles electronics), 1,000’s of hours of software testing, plus 8 months and 352 million miles of travel, a 7 minute descent and landing, $2.5 billion dollars and one Twitter account, on Sunday, August 6, 2012 at 10:32 p.m. Pacific time the first full-fledged mobile science laboratory sent to a distant world landed in Gale Crater, Mars and its name is “Curiosity.”
Curiosity (a computer generated image)
 It’s NASA’s first astrobiology mission since the 1970s-era Viking probes and the mission has four scientific goals:
  1. Determine whether Mars could ever have supported life.
  2. Study the climate of Mars.
  3. Study the geology of Mars.
  4. Plan for a human mission to Mars.
To reach these goals, Curiosity has six main scientific objectives:
  1. Determine the mineralogical composition of the Martian surface and near-surface geological materials.
  2. Attempt to detect chemical building blocks of life (bio-signatures).
  3. Interpret the processes that have formed and modified rocks and soils.
  4. Assess long-timescale (i.e., 4-billion-year) Martian atmospheric evolution processes.
  5. Determine present state, distribution, and cycling of water and carbon dioxide.
  6. Characterize the broad spectrum of surface radiation, including galactic radiation, cosmic radiation, solar proton events and secondary neutrons.
One of the first photos sent back by Curiosity
 Though this is certainly not the first time we’ve put a vehicle on Mars or retrieved data about the planet it is still all very exciting to see awesome feats of science and technology in a time where seemingly more simple programs and concepts are crashing all around us.  It’s a reminder of what’s possible and what we as a species are capable of.  Which is a nice contrast when on a fairly regular basis we are all reminded of how little we are capable of (Seattle-ites still not understanding how to drive in the rain for example).
If you were to give me $2.5 billion dollars to spend I can guarantee you that sending a probe to Mars would not be at the top of my list (I’d prefer to see us get a better handle on this planet first), but regardless I am still very impressed with and amazed at the accomplishment.
Watch a video with more detail here:  http://www.hulu.com/watch/310139
Or
Read an article with more info, photos and alternate videos here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-marsbre8721a9-20120803,0,5523320.story

READ MORE

Why Does Change Management Keep Getting Put in Time Out?

Why Does Change Management Keep Getting Put in Time Out?

Buzzword Soup, Anyone? If I use words like “Transformation” or “Change Management” in a meeting, everyone nods like they get it. But in reality, there are usually as many understandings of those terms as there are people around the table. In today’s soup of ambiguous...

read more
Moving Forward From the Home Office

Moving Forward From the Home Office

It’s been almost 20 years since I’ve gone into an office five days a week. In that time, I’ve progressed in my consulting career from a Senior Manager, to a Principal, to a VP, to a Managing Partner, to a CEO. I barely remember what it’s like to “go to work” and to...

read more
The Leadership Dog Years

The Leadership Dog Years

As a business leader, I feel like I’ve been living in dog years — so much has happened that this year feels more like seven. In the spring, our company — like many others — had to throw out our annual plans and quickly pivot to new ones. In the summer, we increased...

read more
Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

About a week ago, I completed the second live (virtual) training in the process of becoming a Certified Professional Coach through iPEC. Once again, my mind was blown! It reinforced for me that virtual workshops can, and do, work, and, in a lot of ways, I prefer them...

read more
Finding My Work-Life Balance

Finding My Work-Life Balance

In my previous post, I told the story of how I got back into consulting after becoming a mom. All of the diverse experiences I had during that journey have helped me to find my work-life balance by… Defining Boundaries “Go home,” my first boss said 12 years back —...

read more
How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

I Landed My Dream Job Throwback to 2014, I had completed my MBA, landed my dream job as a consultant, and was hoping that my new consulting career would exponentially ramp up my career growth for the next 5 years. This would position me to take on critical decision...

read more
Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

In August of this year, as part of our annual company meeting, our team at Thought Ensemble participated in the foundational session of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training led by Dr. Nika White, IOM, CDE (she/her/hers). One of the most meaningful moments...

read more