NASA is now on another high, and it’s well deserved. But the one thing that caught my eye as we all watched, along with the MSL crew, Curiosity descend towards Mars’ surface is that NASA’s geeks are not like they used to be. That old antiquated stereotype of pocket protectors and glasses has been replaced with a new generation of geeks that are as unique as their work. Take the flight director of NASA’s Curiosity rover, Bobak Ferdowsi:
He was the first person to catch my eye as the photographers made their way around the mission control room. It’s not often that you see a NASA scientist/engineer sporting a mohawk with stars in it. But, WOW, has he changed the image of a space nerd forever. And he’s not even close to being the only one to do so – check out this profile of the a few of the M-team from NASA/JPL.
But if you want to hear the biggest inspiration of all, read the NPR’s story of how Adam Steltzner went from being a rocker to NASA/JPL’s EDL team leader. He’s clearly pretty amazing, as noted by the emotional thank you speech he gave in the 1st press conference after the successful landing of Curiosity. NASA once again proves that they truly are a national treasure themselves – doing the amazing feats that they do on a fraction of a fraction of some of the biggest budgets out there. And they’ve got some incredibly unique people who are leading the way into space.
People out there will continue to judge others based on their outer image. But that outer image is but one disguise of the true person. And the true person usually is hiding a whole lot more depth than anyone would ever expect.
It’s time, once and for all, to break down stereotypes to show just how limiting they can be. People like Bobak are doing just that while being true to themselves. Now that’s blazing your own starry trail! This is the new look of brains, and it’s attractive on the outside as well as the inside.