I think the best thing about Curiosity is that people, at least for a brief moment, were excited about space again. Even the Space and Rocket Center's Pass the Torch series was well attended the Thursday evening before landing.
|A model of Curiosity's wheels, with built-in-wheel suspension!|
|Steven, Myself, Story Musgrave and Chris at the Pass the Torch Series event.|
It is also interesting to see how much social media played into the Curiosity landing. "Mohawk Guy" is now a Twitter sensation, and the women present in the mission control room at JPL are also gaining internet celebrity status.
Maybe we are still riding the recent wave of patriotism initiated by the summer Olympics, but at that moment, when Curiosity was confirmed down and the engineers burst into jubilation, America collectively saluted a job well done. Even people who had no idea of Curiosity's mission and purpose were just proud to be Americans.
We are experiencing a generation completely reliant on technology, but one that places too little value on science and engineering (in this humble blogger's opinion). The surge of excitement about science and engineering felt in those wee hours of the morning as Curiosity completed her 3.4 million mile journey to Mars was refreshing.
It was something NASA needed. It was something this nation needed.