Tears of nerd joy

We are a bunch of hairless apes that happened to evolve through a natural process and managed to put a SUV-sized, nuclear-powered science station on another planet and instantaneously share a photo of said planet with all of humanity over fucking Twitter.

Life is awesome.

And it did make me cry seeing a bunch of scientists just so, so happy. Because scientists are human too, and exploration and search for knowledge are some of the very hallmarks of humanity. I also a shed a tear knowing I wasn’t invited to whatever kick-ass party those scientists are going to have tonight.


  1. says

    I know exactly how they feel, and there’s nothing better.

    It was a pretty audacious plan; many things that all had to go right. Seems like they all did. Nice work, everyone.

  2. Nentuaby says

    The communications part of this mission is what really gets me. Yeah, the rest is amazing, but we’ve moved large objects through the solar system before. What we’ve never done before is received their telemetry in the best excuse for real-time relativity allows.

    The use of the Mars orbiters as tracking and control stations blows my mind. MARS HAS INFRASTRUCTURE. We are becoming ESTABLISHED out there. The implications of that are just so profound…

  3. says

    So, I’m assuming that means the rest of us are having a twitter-party in the scientists’ honour? I’ll bring the port.

  4. StevoR says

    Yes! Well said Jen.

    Curiosity has indeed triumphed over terror – those seven critical minutes thereof.

    Superluminous. (beyond merely brilliant) to see.

    Thankyou NASA TV.

  5. mandrellian says

    Hecks yes – here’s to science, humanity and winning.

    *raises fat glass of single malt (humanity’s other greatest triumph)

  6. StevoR says

    I had one for the NASA-JPL scientists too. Then one for the Curiosity rover.. another for Mars .. another for the shadow on Mars image and, well, I’m having one now for this blog entry! ;-)

  7. StevoR says

    .. & Congrats to all those who made this happen. Superbly marvellous work done! Wow. You guys rock.

  8. Vidar says

    Just to be pedantic, it’s not SUV-sized. It’s about the size of a Mini Cooper.
    It’s still a heck of an achievement, and I’m looking foreward to all the new stuff this thing will dig out of Mars.

  9. StevoR says

    Meanwhile eight years on and Opportunity is still rolling too.

    We’re back to two Mars Exploration Rovers again albeit different models.

    Plus there’s the ten plus year old Mars Odyssey orbiter relaying the signals and more as well.

    Plus among others we have Dawn orbiting the brightest asteroid / smallest terrestrial planet Vesta, NewHorizons en route to Pluto for 2015 and Kepler finding worlds around other stars. All showing Humanity at its best and most wonderful and furthest reach.

  10. jenny6833a says

    “Scientists” do engineering and “engineers” do science. With rare exceptions, those who make a distinction have never successfully done either.

  11. scrutationaryarchivist says

    Dawn is currently departing from Vesta, and is on its way to Ceres.

    If you haven’t seen NASA’s interactive “Eyes on the Solar System” site, I encourage everyone to check it out. It allows you to virtually travel through the system. What amazed me was seeing just how many probes and vehicles NASA has in operation right now.

    And now there’s one more!

  12. paul says

    My favorite comment on the landing, from Fark.com: “Murphy can go suck it. Rube Goldberg for the win.”

  13. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    The most amazing part is “something SUV sized” doing something positive.

  14. says

    This is totally awesome. I didn’t see it live, unfortunately, but seeing the video afterwards with all the scientists cheering was so wonderful.

  15. says

    There is a real distinction. You are almost correct, but what I would say is that modern science (for the most part) requires massive engineering efforts, and cutting-edge engineering requires a scientific mindset. Speaking as an engineer who was raised by a family of scientists, I can confirm that there is an often daunting difference in their languages. Given the success of this mission, I can guarantee that most of the systems engineers have a solid science background.

    A “pure” scientist can certainly do great things and never touch hardware, but please keep hir away from hardware programs. Likewise an engineer who is brilliant at crunching designs in NASTRAN or Thermal Desktop or Pspice, but who doesn’t understand the scientific rationale for those programs, is useless to me.

    Sadly, there are both of those kinds of people at NASA. They are not the ones who get the great stuff done. Happily, the top person for science at the agency (Associate Administrator for the Science Mision Directorate) is John Grunsfeld, who has a PhD in astrophysics and an insanely good grasp of engineering. Pretty much a model of scientist-engineer.

    So I would turn it around to say that ,with rare exceptions, the best science is done by people who are personally both scientists and engineers.

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