Session on Exploring Mars at SZABIST Karachi
Mechatronics Engineering department of SZABIST, Karachi invited MsZainabNaginCox, engineer for the Mars Curiosity Rover project of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to speak about her experiences titled, "Hitting the Road on Mars: Reaching Out into the Solar System" on May 28, 2014.
A Cornell University graduate and former U.S. Air Force officer, Ms. Zainab is currently working as part of the mission operations team operating the rover on Mars. Ms.Zainab has spoken to audiences around the United States, in Europe, and the Middle East on the stories of the people behind the robotic space missions.
In her talk, Ms. Zainab discussed the various projects that NASA has undertakenon reaching and exploring Mars. She talked about the technical challenges and the engineering solutions that made those projects possible; and the successes that have been made in terms of water exploration on Mars' surface. She stated; "We want to know whether there was any water activity on Mars in the past by studying the rocks and the soil collected by the robot. It's been two years since NASA's latest space craft 'Curiosity' has been on Mars and we want to know whether it was ever habitable. The breakthrough is that in earlier missions it was discovered that the water was drinkable. Now that the Rover has landed in the crater it is collecting samples from the crater that is even taller than the Mount Everest.". Furthermore, she explained the novel technology that was used in the making of 'Curiosity' and in particular its unique landing mechanism.
She encouraged SZABIST students to continue to excel in their studies and emphasized on the importance of team work by showing them a picture of earth taken from space while reminding them that, "When we see planet Earth from space, there are no borders; there are no nations. We are all looking up at the same stars; we are all under the same sky; we are all one people. And space exploration is one of the ways that we can work together as part of the same team of men and women to solve problems on our planet." The session was concluded with a Question and Answer session.