In the course of our enduring quest for knowledge aboutourselves and our universe, we haven’t found answers to one of our mostfundamental questions: Does life exist anywhere else in the universe? Ten yearsand billions of dollars in the making, the Mars rover Curiosity is poised toanswer this all-important question.
Here, Rob Manning, the project’s chief engineer, tells ofbringing the groundbreaking spacecraft to life. Manning and his team at NASA’sJet Propulsion Laboratory, tasked with designing a lander many times larger andmore complex than any before, faced technical setbacks, fights over inadequateresources, and the challenges of leading an army of brilliant, passionate, andoften frustrated experts.
Manning’s fascinating personal account—which includesinformation from his exclusive interviews with leading Curiosity scientists—ispacked with tales of revolutionary feats of science, technology, andengineering. Listeners experience firsthand the disappointment at encounteringpersistent technical problems, the agony of near defeat, the sense of victoryat finding innovative solutions to these problems, the sheer terror of stakingcareers and reputations on a lander that couldn’t be tested on Earth, and therush of triumph at its successful touchdown on Mars on August 5, 2012. This isthe story of persistence, dedication, and unrelenting curiosity.