Tuesday, August 7, 2012
The Pasadena Olympic Team
When the cheering broke out I took pictures of the computer screen, but those didn't turn out so well. So I thought I'd show you a picture of where it all happened. No, this is not Mars, this is NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, scooched up between the feet of the foothills at the north end of Hahamongna Watershed Park, where it takes up space in La Canada Flintridge with a Pasadena address. Go figure.
It's amazing what these scientists have done. They've landed a craft on Mars, with precision, and they've done it basically with tin cans, rubber-bands and string. Imagine what they could do with an actual budget--a budget, say, half the size of the Pentagon's. Or even a quarter of that. We'd have had resort hotels and spaceports on Pluto by now and Pluto is only a plutoid.
The people who landed the rover Sunday night are not the only folks who work at JPL. The geniuses and support staff working there, some of whom I'm privileged to call friends and neighbors, study everything from the earth's oceans and atmosphere to the planets in our solar system to background radiation in deep space. Every time we walk at Hahamongna I think of them. What a privilege. What a team.