Friday, while the rest of us were slaving away in the heat wave, attending to the details of TGAL’s fast-filling fall schedule, our chief robotics consultant Eric labored on bended knee at his heavily air-conditioned day job, as you can see from this photo. This is the closest he’s ever been to Curiosity, the newest NASA Mars Rover. In any position. Nice bunny suit!
Poor guy. He had to wake up early the day before to see the space shuttle Atlantis make its final landing. Granted, it was hard to see anything, given that the shuttle has no lights and landed before dawn, and our man didn’t exactly have a ringside seat. But after it parked, he was among the elite who got to admire it up close and personal, and he was excited about that. He reports that it was cool to see exactly how beat up those once-pristine space tiles look after decades of traveling to infinity and beyond.
We expect Eric to come back from Kennedy Space Center with at least one cool space-inspired idea for this fall’s iteration of our Robo Challenge class – which is being developed by our other chief robotics consultant, Will.
Kids: can you guess why all those NASA folks have to wear bunny suits around their space-faring rovers? Answer: so when the rovers land on another planet, the rovers’ instruments don’t accidentally pick up a speck of organic material or any matter of any kind from earth and think that it came from the planet they’re exploring. (Hey, wow, they have Gatorade here, too ….)