Mission to Mars: Curiosity Close to Paying Off
Are you curious about the title of this blog post? I admit, I may have been deceptive! "Curiosity" is an innate human trait, and something that you carry with you all of the time. It is the backbone of science. It helps us to generate questions, and to acquire knowledge and skills. However, I am writing about a different "Curiosity".
"Curiosity" is also a mission to Mars that is about to reach it's destination, and begin its true exploration. Without fanfare, the mission launched from Cape Canaveral on Nov 26, 2011. It carries the most advanced set of experiments and instruments ever sent to Mars. This coming weekend, it will land in a way that would leave those of you who love going to adventure movies breathless! During a 7 minute period, it will decelerate from a screaming 13,000 miles per hour to a hopefully soft landing on the "Red Planet". NASA's JPL Laboratories have even created a 5 min-long YouTube video that has gone viral called: "Challenges of Getting to Mars: Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror".
Watching the animation gives you a sense as to how well-planned and well-designed this mission has been to make this exploration possible. What you should know even more is that in addition to scientists, mathematicians and engineers who have worked on this project, technicians, project managers, and people from many other walks of life have provided the opportunity for us to satisfy this curiosity! If you are a student of today, and want to work on cool adventures of the future, consider what that future might look like and what you will need to know.
The future in your lifetime looks distinctly different than the present. It will include a changing reference for humanity. We will no longer inhabit only one world! The Moon, Mars, and the space between will be further explored, inhabited, and opportunities of all types exits. Careers that do not exist today will blossom, in much the same way that software development did not exist 40 years ago. How can you make yourself ready for this future? "STEM" is a growing focus of education today. STEM stands for "Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics" and the acronym implies that all are done in the same effort, as parts of coming up with a better "whateveritis" than we had before. Have you ever fixed anything? Chances are you used your innate STEM abilities to do that. Even changing a lightbulb is a minor STEM activity! Note that you do not need to know all there is to know about the science, technology and mathematics of the lightbulb to replace one! Simply enough to adapt the technology to what your needs are.
Over the coming year, I hope to post more blog articles here about STEM. I hope that this post has grown your "curiosity" (grin) and that at the very least, this weekend, that you will log online to see something that has never been transmitted before: the successful, live landing of an Earthly Spacecraft on another planet! If you think that is amazing, wait until you see what you will be able to do in the future, especially with a background in STEM types of classes.
thinktanK12 blog: STEM
NASA - Mars Science Lab
Follow Mars Curiosity on Twitter: MarsCuriosity