HPHS Grad Helps Land Rover On Mars
NASA landed Curiosity on Mars thanks to the help of physicist, former astronaut and Highland Park High School alum Dr. John Grunsfeld.
The information below comes from a District 113 news release.
NASA landed its rover named Curiosity on Mars Aug. 5th thanks to the help of physicist and former astronaut Dr. John Grunsfeld. Grunsfeld graduated from Highland Park High School in 1976.
According to a NASA press release, the spacecraft carrying Curiosity successfully completed the most complex landing ever attempted on Mars. It ended a 36-week flight and begins a two-year investigation.
"My immense joy in the success of this mission is matched only by overwhelming pride I feel for the women and men of the mission's team," Grunsfeld said in a press release after the landing.
Grunsfeld attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after graduating from HPHS where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics. He earned his Master of Science degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in physics from the University of Chicago. Grunsfeld was recruited by NASA in 1992. He logged more than 58 days in space on five shuttle missions, including 58 hours and 30 minutes of spacewalk time. He was named the associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate in 2011.
Curiosity is a $2.5 billion project.
"The wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars. Curiosity, the most sophisticated rover ever built, is now on the surface of the Red Planet, where it will seek to answer age-old questions about whether life ever existed on Mars -- or if the planet can sustain life in the future," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in the press release.
"This is an amazing achievement, made possible by a team of scientists and engineers from around the world and led by the extraordinary men and women of NASA and our Jet Propulsion Laboratory.”
Dr. John Grunsfeld was previously honored by Highland Park High School as a Distinguished Alumni.