When Discovery News Met Mars Rover 'Curiosity'
April 4, 2011 --
I've fallen in love with a robot. But this wouldn't be the first time.
When NASA's lunchbox-sized Sojourner rover made its first, timid steps on Martian soil in 1997, I was in love. When NASA's twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity bounced across the Red Planet's terrain and sent that heart-stopping signal that they were "OK" in 2004, I was in love.
Most recently, with the help of social media and my addiction to Twitter, I was besotted with the Mars Phoenix lander when it touched red dirt in 2008.
But today, I met NASA's biggest wheeled robot yet: the Mars Science Laboratory, or simply, "Curiosity."
And yes, even before she's left the clean room where she was assembled, I'm in love with that six-wheeled, laser-toting, nuclear-powered machine.
In a special media event held at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Pasadena, Calif., on April 4, I had the exciting opportunity to see Curiosity with my own eyes before she's shipped to Cape Canaveral, Fla., for launch later this year.
Here are a few photos from this memorable event.