Yesterday, NASA made history by landing a rover on Mars and there was a former Buffalo State professor that had a huge role in the mission.

When you hear the story of the rover that landed on Mars, it's incredible to imagine that it actually happened.  The things that it had to go through to get there are pretty incredible.  The trip takes about seven months (Compare that to your trip out to the west coast in the car and that seems even longer!).  Then when they reach the atmosphere of Mars it has to withstand what the scientists call "7 Minutes of Terror."  According to Space.com, upon entering the atmosphere, the rover into the Martian skies at about 12,100 mph (19,500 kph).

Then it has to find a parking spot!  Where do you land?

Imagine if a life form from another planet was sending a rover here to discover life on earth and it landed somewhere in the arctic circle, or in the middle of the ocean.  The samples that the rover sent back would look completely different.

That's why Dr. John Grant's work was so important.

Dr. Grant is a former professor at Buff State and is now with the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the National Air and Space Museum. According to WIVB, his role in the Mars Mission was to help find the perfect place for the rover to land.

 

They chose a former ancient lake bed known as Jazero Crater for the landing spot.  Now it will begin collecting samples that will be returned to earth in about a decade.

"And those samples will be eventually returned to earth, where they can be looked at much like the apollo samples have been for decades to come and will be like a new mission every time we look at them.” - Dr. John Grant

 

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