Thursday, February 21, 2013
A Shout Out for the Skilled Trades
I have been following Curiosity, NASA's $2.5 billion robot-rover as it goes to work on Mars. Visit the NASA web page and learn about Curiosity. My favorite picture is of Curiosity in the foreground and tire tracks coming from far off in the distance. Curiosity has now successfully drilled into a rock and extracted a core sample that will be analyzed using an on-board test kit. Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA developed the kit. In a recent interview a drill systems engineer talked about the high tech operation and the complex software challenges they have overcome. He concluded his interview with a comment about a low-tech worry that has not proved to be a problem. After all that drilling and scooping, the welds at the crucial corners of Curiosity's scoop held. That's one big shout out to the skilled trades.