Why Curiosity Matters

Why Curiosity Matters

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Adam Steltzner is a rocker-turned-NASA engineer who helped take the country’s cool new Curiosity rover to the surface of Mars. “I’m so thankful to Clara Ma for suggesting the name ‘Curiosity.’ It embodies a fundamental attribute that defines us as humans,” Steltzner begins, when asked to explain why Curiosity matters. “Why do we explore? It’s our nature. Human curiosity is why you and I can talk across the country by phone. It’s why I’m sitting 60 feet above the ground in a building made of alloys and other high-tech composite materials. We dominate this planet because we wonder what’s around the next corner.”

When people ask Steltzner “Is the new rover worth 2½ billion dollars?” he has a compelling answer: “It’s not 2½ billion dollars we stuffed in a trunk and blew into space. It’s thousands of high tech jobs spread over 37 states. It’s honing and developing our skills in science, engineering, and math.” He notes that the U.S. has slipped to 14th in science education and 18th in math – in a world where we’re competing for economic prosperity with nations 1 through 13. “This mission is an investment in high tech jobs, in inspiring the youth of our country, in stepping up rung by rung toward 1st place. It’s the best stimulus you could imagine!”

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