A Wisconsin Scientist is Involved with NASA’s "Seven Minutes of Terror"


A new, larger, and more technologically advanced rover is approaching Mars. The “Curiosity” will explore the red planet’s landscape, with help from a UW-Green Bay scientist.

Just after midnight Monday morning NASA scientists and engineers may be biting their fingernails. The dramatic landing of the rover, Curiosity, is documented in a hit NASA web segment titled “Seven Minutes of Terror.”

Not so crazy to Dr. Aileen Yingst who heads the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium at UWGB. She’s also a planetary geologist, “It’s important to understand Mars as a planet because it helps us to understand Earth in context. We don’t even know the right questions to ask until we can Earth in the context of other planets.”

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Yingst is also involved with the rover Opportunity, now in its eighth year. Even though that rover has outlived all expectations she says it has only scratched the surface, “It’s a little like being able to explore the mall in Washington D.C. That’s about the size of the area we’ve been able to explore and there’s no way you would say, ‘Well I’ve seen Washington, D. C. therefore I know everything there is to know about the geology of the Earth.’ You haven’t been to the bottom of the ocean or the top of the Himalayas anything like that.”

If all goes as planned and the Mini Cooper-sized rover lands intact she’ll be tracking its progress and photographing Mars’ landscape from Pasadena, California.