August kicked off with new records and achievements—and I’m not just talking about the athletic variety or the saving-15%-on-car-insurance variety. I was lucky enough to witness history in the making. Here, a few small steps from WIRED’s headquarters in Times Square, a crowd had assembled to watch another giant leap for mankind: the monumental Mars landing.
Now New York isn’t exactly known for being a city that’s easily impressed—celebrities and even little green men (not the Martian kind) can pretty much walk the streets here unnoticed. And yet, late on this extremely humid night, even this toughest of crowds sat staring up at the giant screen waiting for the first images from the Curiosity rover. It was just about to finish its long trek, some 350 million miles, and complete its “seven minutes of terror” landing, which relied on an untested procedure that a humble Gecko like me can’t even begin to understand.
It was a long wait for the NASA team to receive those first images, and we all shared in the delight as the team celebrated the successful landing. So while our athletes rushed for gold in London, back home NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena had achieved its toughest-ever-feat of robotic space exploration: landing the $2.5 billion Curiosity rover in a crater at the Martian planet and beginning the search for signs of microbial life. Short of being inside the NASA lab, this was easily the most exciting place to be. Where did you watch?blog comments powered by Disqus