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Old 08-30-2012, 07:56 AM
Brit Brit is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,040

I wanted to add to this from some personal experience.

Back in the last century (1997) I was at JPL reporting for Televisa on the Mars Pathfinder Mission. I sat in the press room as we all held our breath as Pathfinder found its way to the Mars surface. A collective squeal echoed throughout the halls of JPL when we knew it had safely landed and was transmitting. Tears, hugs and handshakes were shared by all.

My Dad, as some of you know, was one of the earlier pioneers of the space age. He, with Von Braun and others, sent missiles up only to watch them tumble to Earth or explode on the pad. This was years before manned flight - that was only a dream. He and the other engineers bounced between the Cape, Los Alamos, White Sands and JPL in search of their vision of finding out what was beyond our immediate understanding.

On that day back in '97, sitting in the middle of JPL's press room, watching and listening to the 'modern' engineers express their expectations for Pathfinder, I wiped a proud tear from my eye and wrote my Dad a letter. I thanked him and all of the others who had been so insightful, so diligent, who had worked on a shoestring budget, who had used spit and chewing gum and anything they could beg, borrow or steal, to create a foundation that had evolved into something that now allowed us to land on Mars. We - the next generation - were continuing their initial vision... to learn, to explore, to expand our knowledge base in hopes of better understanding ourselves and our universe.

Dad and the others understood that with this newfound freedom of exploration there came a great responsibility. My hope for this new 21st Century generation of visionaries is that they understand the responsibility that comes with seeking knowledge.

Brit Elders
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