Well, I think it's still in the works. With this mission, we'll be fulfilling ultimately what Carl Sagan suggested be done before any manned missions commence. That is, thoroughly examine Mars for contaminants that may or may not be harmful and contagious for humans. He likened the scenario to a reverse War of the Worlds.
I sent a message to my brother-in-law and his wife:
Matt & Brenda,
I don't know if you have or had anything to do with Curiosity, but I damned proud of JPL and NASA tonight. Just watched the touchdown and watched as the first thumbnail images came back from the surface of Mars. I stand in awe of this accomplishment.
Yes, we both worked on it. Brenda was a thermal systems engineer responsible for making sure the rover launched, traveled there, landed, operates within acceptable temperature zones, etc (an enormous undertaking). She had several subsystem thermal models as well as the overall model of the rover. She also did analysis for several landing zones to help determine where Curiosity should land (including Gale crater where it did land). She was extremely involved and I'm sure I'm not listing half of what she did.
I worked on one of the ten science instruments called tunable laser spectrometer (TLS) as a mechanical design engineer. The suite of instruments is called SAM which stands for Sample Analysis at Mars. TLS is used to detect methane, carbon dioxide, and water (i.e. evidence of life). I designed, analyzed, fabricated, and oversaw the assembly of several key components as well as the final alignment. As with many of the instruments on board Curiosity in SAM, TLS has the honor of being the highest precision instrument of its kind ever sent to another planet.
As you can tell, we're both excited that the landing went very well. All initial assessments of the rover and instrumentation indicate everything is alive and well. The landing was "soft" per specification relative to the rocket blast to get it into Earth's orbit and send it on its way to Mars. I can tell you that the last calibration and check out on late June showed a completely healthy set of instruments as well as the rover. So, that means everything survived being strapped to a rocket so theres no reason to believe that the landing on Mars would have caused any damage. We will know more over the next days and weeks as we begin to wake-up the rover and it's instrumentation.
Removed the minor squabble over Bobak. Not that it was bad or anything, but it had the chance of going off topic in a huge flaming way. If you guys disagree with my assessment, the posts were only soft-deleted and can be put back.[DOUBLEPOST=1344637649][/DOUBLEPOST]And I think daily updates would be smashing, baby!