I just realized that Matt Horner, the engineer of the rover that landed on Mars, is the same guy who's the serious boyfriend of one of my nieces. Her mom (my sis) just emailed me PDF of newspaper article. I don't know how to attach a PDF to post here. It's a great article, need your guidance please?
Only way I could think of you sharing it here would be to host the PDF and then provide a link, but there's probably a more elegant phpBB solution. What do I know, I can't post 90% of the embeddable stuff out there.
Found the link; Matt's a great guy, quite a catch for my niece:http://www.andersonvalleypost.com/news/ ... s-rover-l/
“I think we stuck that landing. The team will be happy to take a perfect 10.0 score on that one,” declared former Anderson resident Matt Horner, 28, on the successful landing of a roving Mars Science Laboratory on the red planet’s surface.
Horner, a 2002 graduate of Anderson Union High School, has worked at the California Institute of Technology’s NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena since January 2007.
He and another engineer, Matt Yergon, designed and placed all of the pyrotechnic devices that jettisoned the protective canopy used during the long cruise through deep space, blew away the Mars rover’s heat shield after entry through the thin Mars atmosphere, launched the parachute the equipment pod from more than 900 miles per hour to less than 180 miles per hour, and then released the nylon cables once they had lowered the rover vehicle to the planet surface from a hovering Sky Crane.
Horner had invited his father, Richard Horner of Anderson, to witness the rover landing along with “200 of our closest friends – everyone that had worked on various components of the rover since its inception,” he said. The group met at a Pasadena restaurant and bar that stayed open late for the NASA landing, Horner said.
“We had a laptop showing the animated simulation of the landing sequence and we could follow the live feed from the control room so it was pretty surreal when I started seeing and hearing everything that I had been working on for the last five years start to work,” Horner said via cell phone from Pasadena early Monday, Aug. 6.
“It was quite emotional watching the last 10 seconds of the landing. I have my Dad a big teary hug and thanked him for all of the sacrifices that he and my Mom, Laura, had made for me over the years. Mom called us within minutes of the landing, so even though she couldn’t be there in person, we were all together on the phone celebrating,” Horner said.
Part of a $2.5 billion program to launch a six-wheeled Rover Environmental Monitoring Station at the foot of a mountain of sedimentary layers inside the Gale Crater, the rover touched down “within spitting distance” of its planned landing site, according to one of the engineers working in the control room.
That margin of error was incredibly small considering the rover had traveled 352 million miles during the past 36 weeks to land within four minutes of its originally projected 10:31 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time touchdown.
At times, the spacecraft was traveling at about 8,400 miles per hour and, at entry into the Mars atmosphere, was going at Mach 2.4 or nearly two-and-a-half times the speed of sound.
“We’re safe on Mars,” the mission control spokesman said immediately after getting a signal from the rover that all six wheels were on the planet’s surface. That signal was broadcast at 10:34 p.m. California time Sunday, Aug. 5.
The rover’s main mission will be to determine whether Mars ever had flowing water that might have sustained early life forms, according to a 61-page press kit NASA prepared on the landing phase of the mission.
Gale Crater spans 96 miles in diameter, about the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. The mound, named Mount Sharp, rises 3 miles from the crater floor, which is higher than Mt. Rainer rises above Seattle, NASA’s release states.
During the rover Curiosity’s prime mission period of one Martian year (98 weeks), the rove will mainly explore some intriguing layers near the mound’s base. Since the crater floor is at a lower elevation than much of the surface of Mars, if any water had pooled on the planet’s surface, it likely would have done so inside the Gale crater, NASA scientists explained.
“The hardest part of the mission was the Sky Crane landing,” explained Horner. “We were so glad that it worked on its first mission. It’s very good for JPL and America’s space program because we cannot use balloons any more to get things down to the surface,” Horner said, referring to the previous rover landings where the vehicle, protected in a metal cocoon, was bounced to the surface surrounded by inflatable balloons much like the air bags that protect vehicle occupants in a crash.
“We are sending things now that are too heavy to land that way,” explained Horner.
When the first photos from the planet surface were transmitted – within moments of the rover’s landing – Horner said he had another reality check because “I had written the procedures for mounting the cameras to the rover and my good friend had done the actual mounting.”
Although Horner expects to work for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for some time to come, he admits that Sunday night’s rover landing may end up being the highest emotional point in his career.
“I’ll take the stuck landing as my number one experience for quite a long time,” he said.
I don't care what Tommy Lasorda says about "bleeding Dodger blue".......everyone knows that blood is red, and
I BLEED CARDINAL RED!