I will never be mistaken for an astronomy geek (though I did make an effort to see the super moon a few months ago). So when I heard about a recent midnight viewing party of NASA’s Curiosity rover landing on Mars, I did what most people with English degrees did: got a good night’s sleep.
Little did I know what an amazing event I’d missed. Not the actual landing, but the jubilation inside NASA’s mission control center the moment the rover touched down. “I couldn’t hold myself back,” said Gregory Galgana Villar III, one of NASA’s youngest engineers on the rover mission. “We were jumping up and down, hugging each other, tearing up.”
Bobak Ferdowsi, a flight director for the mission, earned even more than a line on his resume. Hours after the landing, photos of NASA’s “mohawk guy,” went viral, prompting more than twenty Twitter marriage proposals. Says Ferdowski, “If my mohawk gets a few more people excited about science and this mission, that’s what it’s all about.”