Happy 5th Anniversary, Curiosity! ‘We changed the world, everybody!’

Live from the Pasadena Convention Center, August 5, 2012: Members of the Mars Science Laboratory team at the Jet Propulsion Lab with Curiosity’s first two photos

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

This article first appeared in Altadenablog five years ago, on the day of the Mars Science Laboratory landing.

Seven minutes of terror: seven minutes between the time the Mars Science Lab capsule entered the Mars atmosphere and the MSL team at JPL learned whether the rover Curiosity had safely landed.

Fourteen minutes of jubilation: 14 minutes of nonstop cheering in the Pasadena Convention Center, as the Planetfest crowd heard the news that Curiosity had set all six wheels on the surface of the Red Planet at 10:31 p.m. PDT on Monday.  Punctuated by photos flashing onto the screens and urged on by Bill Nye and Bruce Betts of The Planetary Society, 2,000 people in the ballroom and another 1,000 at the Pasadena Civic Center chanted “JPL! JPL!”

 

Watch the video live from Planetfest

 

The folks at JPL, that real-life sci-fi community nestled at the top of the Arroyo Seco, had done it again, and we were there to catch it live.  Well, not quite live, since the signal took 14 minutes to get to earth, but live for us, and as exciting as all get out.  Scientists and engineers embraced each other, folks at the Convention Center high-fived strangers, and the orbiter Odyssey outdid itself by relaying not the “maybe one” photo that was promised, but four splendid, spectacular shots.

Preparing for news of the descent, the excited Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society said, “My friends, this is Continue reading “Happy 5th Anniversary, Curiosity! ‘We changed the world, everybody!’”