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PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE - To MARS with MER
Images From JPL at Last Night's Successful Landing of Spirit on Mars
Nagin Cox (to left) and Jessica Collisson (to right) both appeared in P2K's COUNTDOWN TO MARS. Now, as part of the landing team, they shared in the results of "6 minutes of happiness" - as "6 minutes from hell" had been renamed!
Edmond Grin had been arguing that Gusev Crater might be an ancient lake for 15 years or more. At first, no-one believed him, and his was a lonely voice. Now we'll all have a chance to find out in the coming days, weeks and months.
NASA MER Program Scientist Cathy Weitz (due to appear in P2K's FIRST LOOK program) hugs former "Mars Czar" Scott Hubbard, now head of NASA Ames Research Center: hugs, cheers and tears of joy all round!
Jackie Lyra had been a member of the launch team 7 months earlier: now she and her colleagues came down to share in the appreciation of NASA managers and the audience during a press conference.
JPL's Von Karman Auditorium erupts in applause to greet news of the safe landing, and the imminent arrival of the first images back from Mars.
Former Viking Chief Egineer Gentry Lee (in white shirt) and Scott Hubbard - both interviewed by P2K for TO MARS WITH MER - join in the celebration.
Nathalie Cabrol had been the spokesperson for Gusev Crater during the second site selection meeting (seen during P2K's BOUNCING TO MARS.) Of course, despite the late hours, she was delirious with joy, and looking forward to working with husband Edmond Grin (great name for JPL on Jan 3 2004!) on all the new science to come.
Tom Rivellini had re-designed the Descent Rate Limiter on a short deadline and came up with a brand new design. This all-important link between the lander and the backshell only had to work for 6 seconds - and it did: without Tom's work, and that of hundreds of others in and out of NASA - Spirit could not have succeeded!
Jim Rice, a member of P2K's M-Team for "Marsapalooza", still wants to be an astronaut and land on Mars himself. For now, he's happy to have Spirit lead the way.
Cathy says the science team went just as wild as the engineers who'd gotten Spirit down to the surface.