Monday, August 6, 2012

And THAT'S How You Land A Rover On Mars!!!

Forgive me for a moment while I geek out and make a total fool of myself.


A photo taken my the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which shows Curiosity hanging from its supersonic parachute as it drops toward the surface of Mars.
Had you been at the Rugg homestead last night at around 10:31 PM, those are noises you would have heard me make as we watched the newest Mars rover, Curiosity, triumphantly touch down on Mr. Bradbury's wonderfully red planet. (I'm not entirely sure what SNNNNNNERBY means. But it's a good noise. A happy noise.)

Long-time readers of this inestimable blog are well aware by now that I'm a bit of a fanatic about aviation and space. I am, as my wife informed me, a "Rover Hugger". That's a term she found on the internet that describes people like me who avidly follow the comings and going of those plucky little robots on Mars.

Had I not been one of St. Viator Elementary School's "worst students of all time" and unable to tie my shoes  until I was 17, there's a good chance I would have been a brilliant engineer that made cool Mars rovers. However, as one of St. Viator Elementary School's worst students of all time and unable to tie my shoes until I was 17, there was little I could do except for TV Animation.  (On a side note, I recently  came across a letter written to my parents by my 8th grade teacher which stated, "We feel Paul will need constant care throughout his adult years. Please plan accordingly. We can recommend a number of wonderful group homes.")


Curiosity is safely down on the surface of Mars and the whole thing couldn't have been more exciting. Seriously. If you don't believe me, then please take the next 5 minutes to watch what it had to go through.

I hope you watched that and didn't just pretend to watch that because it's really cool. And if you did just pretended to watch it, but are now feeling somewhat sheepish and slightly curious, go ahead and watch it now. Go ahead. Don't be shy. We'll all wait.

Pretty awesome, right? So there we were last night watching all of this live. In the weeks leading up to the landing I had forced my family to watch the above video countless times. (That's the video I asked you to watch and you did. Right? If you didn't. Do it now. There's still time. Seriously. Don't be ashamed. Just do it.) So, having watched the video, we all knew the various things that had to happen as the rover made it's way down. Luckily my family got into it and you would have thought it was the superbowl. When we heard that the parachute had deployed, we clapped. We we heard the heat shield had come off we clapped. When we heard the rockets had fired for powered flight, we cheered. When the sky crane started doing it's thing...I think that's when I made my SNERRRRRBY sound. And when Curiosity said it had arrived, I jumped up and down. Cuz it's cool. And there aren't enough cool things happening today.

Thanks to the rock star engineers and scientists at JPL for putting some cool back into the world. It needed it.

Now if you'll excuse me, we're going out and I need my wife to tie my shoes.


  1. So that's why Animaniacs didn't have a shoe tying song and we had to wait until Spongebob had one performed by the band 'Ween.' All TV writers wear velcro! Of course!

    Speaking of which, I watched that video and it was very interesting and all, but we're raised on Animaniacs and are used to having everything explained to us through song.

    I challenge the challenger of Froynlaven (you) to make a song that sums up that entire video and make a new video of you singing it. In Mr. Director or Chuckles the Silly Piggy's voice (your choice).

  2. But really though, that is totally awesome. Mars. Who would've thought that.

  3. Why is no one else commenting about this? Is this Froynlaven or the Twilight Zone?

  4. This silence makes me all paranoid. I better not have sounded like a jerk with my first comment, I was just tryin' to say something funny! Hello? *various cricket noises*

  5. Sorry, Josh. I've been on Mars for a while. Or at least at a ragtime festival and then showing my brother around town during his nearly week-long visit. Was he visiting Mars? The images from Mars sure look a lot like some of the rocky areas around where I live. I thought I lived near Carson City, but maybe it's Mars. There could be a space warpy thing happening. I mean, Nevada is where Area 51 is, so who knows what weird thing is going on?

    Maybe Lake Tahoe is where all the water from Mars went. We were there a couple times this week as it's also near where I live. And if I live on Mars, then... or Mars was moved here... or... gosh this is so confusing.

    I just feel sorry for Martian cats.