In 1981, I vividly remember my dad waking me up super early one morning so I could witness history. The first reusable space shuttle, Columbia, launched that day. I don’t think I fully understood the impact the moment would have on science, space exploration or the entire world. I did, however, feel the impact the moment had on me.
From my earliest childhood, I’ve been fascinated with science and space. But witnessing the liftoff of that massive rocket in 1981, first-hand, was undeniably one of the biggest memories of my youth.
Today, we’re on the verge of yet another historic moment as NASA’s Juno spacecraft is set to enter Jupiter’s orbit at around 9 PM EDT tonight. Juno has travelled more than 2.8 billion kilometers over the past five years to finally reach its destination. Once in orbit, the spacecraft will manage a series of experiments that will teach us a lot about our solar system’s largest planet as well as the universe surrounding us.
So, for science, this is huge. The data and insights that come out of this five-year mission will no doubt change the way we look at the universe and our future in it.
But for our next generation of Nerds, today’s event, and others like it, will have an even longer-lasting impact. The mind-blowing discoveries provided by the Juno mission over the next few months will, no doubt, serve as a recruiting tool for organizations offering a variety of nerd-based career opportunities, including in the fields of astrophysics, mathematics, and engineering.
The excitement won’t end with Juno. It seems like every few weeks, super entrepreneurs and science nuts like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson launch their test rockets into the stratosphere; or there’s an amazing experiment beamed down from the International Space Station and onto YouTube. And let’s not forget about our hard-working, yet lonely robot, Curiosity Rover, that’s been exploring the surface of Mars since 2011.
There is so much going on in space exploration these days that there may never have been a more exciting time to be a Nerd. Take this amazing opportunity to inspire your Nerds while tuning in to the multitude of wonders the current space missions provide as well as the amazing things yet to be discovered. Who knows, maybe one of this week’s revelations will be the next big space exploration event our kids will remember from their youth and use to inspire their own stargazing Nerds.
Check out these great resources on the Juno Mission as well as other space exploration subjects:
- The Juno Cam – A community page where you can actively participate in the mission!
- The Spacecraft Juno Mission Page
- NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab YouTube Page
- The Age of Aerospace by Discovery Space Channel
- National Geographic Space Exploration