I hope all the prospective students are getting excited about joining the Florida Tech family! I’m sure our returning students are just as excited to be back and are ready to welcome all the new students and staff to campus.
As for me, I am happily enjoying the last few weeks of summer while packing and getting excited about starting a new year. One of the major events happening in the scientific and technological fields has caught my attention over the past few days; NASA’s rover, Curiosity, has landed on Mars!
This rover had its own unique method for landing on Mars, which was quite a leap compared to how previous rovers landed on the moon. Curiosity was pretty much packed into a large pod that was steered through space and Mars’ atmosphere during its initial entry phases. Then, the heat shield detached (like the lid off of a container) and a supersonic parachute (the largest and strongest one built to date) deployed in order to reduce its speed. Afterwards, the radar began to scan the surface of Mars to find a landing target. At this point, the parachute detached from Curiosity and the rocket sky crane fired up to steer and slow the rover down. The sky crane hovered about twenty feet above the surface of Mars as to not stir up too much debris and then it lowered the rover gently onto the surface of Mars
Once touchdown occurred, the Mars satellite orbiter, Odyssey, began receiving and sending data back to NASA. The entire feat has completely amazed me. Watching the live feed of the landing process was really exciting. The scientists, engineers and physicists combined brainpower and hours of hard work made this extraordinary feat of engineering possible. NASA posted a video describing the entire process and the troubles and issues that can come up during its landing if you want to learn more about the mission.
It is amazing feats such as these that remind me why I decided to study mechanical engineering at Florida Tech and it’s what drives me to work my butt off and study like crazy. One day I might be accomplishing extraordinary things such as these.
Keep your curiosity high, and until next time, mission control out!