DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Terry Himes is one of many people who helped NASA's Perseverance rover touch down on Mars last week, but his love for science started at Grand Ledge High School.
"Every event like this is incredibly exciting," said Himes, who grew up in Grand Ledge. "The anticipation is huge because you work on these missions for many, many, many years."
Himes is an engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His primary role on the Perseverance rover was relay systems, which get data back and forth.
Developing a rover is a 10-year process, and it took about seven months to get the rover to Mars.
"Basically, it's a roaming geologist. So, it's going to be looking at what is there now. Was there life in the past? Can we detect any organics whatsoever, and if we do, it's a huge game-changer," Himes said.
So far, he has worked on thirty missions.
He said he was drawn to science as a kid, in part, by the excitement surrounding the space program.
"But the big thing that was happening at the time was Mercury had finished up a Gemini program. The NASA Gemini Programs were just happening, and those were the precursor to landing on the moon, of course. And the excitement during the days was very important," said Himes.
Himes said there's a need for more young people to get into the science and technology fields.
"Space is so exciting and so much fun. We especially like people. I need my replacements right. So, we have to get those kids to get involved," he said.
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