This may be the last place on the Internet to get around to mentioning the amazing feat that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) pulled off in landing Curiosity on Mars. JPL engineers have become celebrities. Ridiculously amazing and stupendously glorious photos have been beamed back from the red planet by Curiosity. A tricky, nail-biter of a landing was executed without a hitch. The all-important first phase of the mission has been a resounding success. And there, now I’ve mentioned it at the Upper Grades Exchange.
When American astronauts drove a lunar rover around the moon and my brother and I woke up to a glass of Tang, the breakfast drink of astronauts, we felt a sense of awe. It was a time when we all wanted to grow up to be astronauts. Seeing them bouncing across the moon’s surface in that bare-bones car was all we talked about at recess. Posters of men walking on the moon were on every classroom wall.
Schools across America are reopening right now for the new academic year. Space exploration is much different today than it was—gulp—40 years ago. But I wonder, will you be talking about Curiosity in class this year? And if so, what do you plan to do to make it exciting and inspiring?