Neil Armstrong, 550 Pictures, January Of 2000 discussed on WNYC Programming
For Mars Pathfinder in the nineties that mission Miguel's first on Mars landed on the Red Planet on July 4th 1997. With the rover companion named Sojourner, The small £25.6 Wheeled rover on Lee, designed to last a week would end of spending 83 days, capturing 550 pictures and taking atmospheric measurements from the planet's surface. He says. During that mission, they were encouraged to follow their product all across the mission, so from the very initial design to the implementation to the testing and then flying it. He says. At that point, he felt like he'd be lucky if he was to ever be part of another Mars mission. I remember having a conversation with the veteran of JPL that was part of the Pathfinder. He said that I feel sorry for you guys because you know I'm about to retire. So this is a great way to retire. But you guys will. You know, in the beginning of your career, you will never experience another mission like this. His colleague was wrong. Miguel in many of his co workers were to get an opportunity to work on another mission. The landing of Twin Rovers, spirit and Opportunity on Mars in different days of January of 2000 and four Then, he says they also used a lot of the same designs from the Pathfinder mission. And then came curiosity where also the same group of team of people that we met in past friend there we continue. Evolving on inventing the waste of landing on Mars in the case of curiosity, because all the previous missions that are worked that landed on Mars used air bags, so I I wanted to work on a mission that landed softly. Can. The team created a landing contraption that landed the rover like a helicopter. Miguel would go on to work on other missions, including the landing of perseverance. It was a new experience for me, because in the previous missions First of all, I was part of the mission in this one in perseverance that was a consultant. The perseverance team will come to me with questions and you know, and during the actual trip to Mars, I was part of also of a team that provided Regular consultation to the team. Together is originally from Argentina. He was born on a family farm in La Patagonia, but grew up and went to school in Buenos Itis every winter and summer vacation, though he'd go back to the family farm. That's where my father taught me about the stars. He was a civil engineer. And he built roads, dark roads in some cases in the Patagonia. And for that, you know, before GPS they navigated using the stars. So my father knew the stars at night in the farm. People teach me all the constellations and all the stars. Miguel began to develop the mind of an engineer. I was, you know, fascinated by all the machinery, particularly the farm. The older mechanical equipment and also, you know the radios and the TVs until very early age. I wanted to be an engineer and then something that he vividly remembers to this day. He saw men stepping onto the moon for the first time. Armstrong is on the moon. Neil Armstrong, 38 year old American standing on the surface of the moon. On this July 20th 1969 points. Small step for man or I am pleased for a man. The Apollo mission had a profound impact on him. First one remember being they're very aware of the risks. They really gonna do that. I mean, it was kind of like Hard to believe that they were going to attempt such a thing. So it was late at night, and we were on the with my father, My mother and my sister watching in front of a black and white TV. We've seen the allowance from coming down the ladder and the room that we were, you know? Glued to the TV and we just couldn't believe it right And I looked at my father right that he was born like in 1911, and it was incredible experience for the family. Watching Armstrong walked on the moon sparked me guess curiosity and wonder. No confirmation of his love and interest in space would come a few years later in 1976 with NASA's Viking project, and I found myself in the farm actually the day of the landing, listening to the BBC on the radio. On at night, the program says. Well, the systems are go, and in a few hours, Viking is going to land on Mars for the first time. US attempt for the first time. The next day in front of a newspaper stand, he saw a photo of the Viking one spacecraft on the surface of Mars. On. Don't remember that has a huge impact on me, and that's when I said this is this is what I want to do. I want to be in one of these missions when when I grow up. His father told him that his best bet would be studying in the US So when he finished high school, he packed his bags and left behind this family, friends and country. He says This was the hardest thing he ever had to do. He had to learn English and figure out how to get accepted into university. But he worked his way through. He made it to Syracuse, where he studied electrical engineering and went on to graduate school at M I t You not remember that I got a little piece of paper from one of the administrative persons in their heroin Astra Department of the Mighty Side. JPL is coming tomorrow to interview So I suited up and I talked to the engineer doing the interview and they flew me to JPL and they offer me a job and the rest is history. His dad was able to see him go through college and get the job at JPL, but unfortunately passed away before Pathfinder made it to Mars. So that aspect I am a little sad that by five years or so for five years He passed away before that, so it will be nice for him to see that because that was when In my purse. Find the land. It is when I actually I could say You know, I have achieved my goal. I could actually feel that all the sacrifice of leaving the country and my family and friends paid off or you know, or was worth it in some ways. Before his father's death, Miguel was able to bring both his mom and his dad to visit NASA's JPL. He just was blunt blown away, right? I mean, he immediately loved that place. He says That visit was a turning point for his mom. Tomb who, through the years had always asked him in letters from out of Cantina. Why did he leave her?.