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To MARS with MER - RESEARCH/ers

John W. Wirth
ATLO electrical lead
NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, California

P2K: So what keeps you going on a day when you know you might have to do something over again that you didnít want to.

John Wirth: I was sitting with a couple of guys, this was back at JPL and we were getting ready to come down to Florida, and we were sitting there and we were saying, yeah weíve been working a lot of hours, I mean putting in 18 hour days, working weekends and stuff, and we said to ourselves, you know itís a lot of work and obviously a couple of years later nobodyĎs going to remember your name. Itís always that way, the "operations" guys get all the credit (Ed. the team operating the spacecraft on Mars after a successful landing), all the guys doing all the hard work down here - not saying operations isnít hard work - but (Ed note: technical and engineering, like the electrical and mechanical teams) people (like the electrical team) putting a lot of long hours, dedicated to this project always get forgotten after a couple of years.

But the thing that sort of stayed in my mind is... we thought that when the rovers land on Mars, and we start taking that first image, that first panorama, and we see the surface, we figure about a billion people on the Earth are going to see that...

So after thinking that, hey, you did something that a billion people are going to look at, sort of gives you some energy to say, hey Iím going to keep going. And thatís whatís kept us going for the last couple of months here. Just knowing that if weíre successful, itís going to be documented everywhere, and everybodyís going to see it, so itís a good feeling.

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