Purdue alum helped NASA's Mars rover land safely

Purdue alum helped NASA's Mars rover land safely

Credit: Getty Images

PASADENA, CA - AUGUST 5: In this handout image provided by NASA, the balcony of the control rooms at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is viewed with the Dark Room in the foreground, the Deep Space Network control room on the right and the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mission Support Area in the back left, on August 5, 2012 in Pasadena, California. The MSL Rover named Curiosity was designed to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbes. Curiosity is due to land on Mars at 10:31 p.m. PDT today (1:31 a.m. EDT on August 6, 2012). (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

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by AP

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 8, 2012 at 7:01 PM

   WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- A Purdue University graduate who helped NASA's Curiosity rover land safely on Mars says he was on pins and needles waiting for the sophisticated probe to make its daring landing.

   Purdue alumnus Douglas Adams is a NASA engineer who helped design, build and test the giant parachute that rapidly slowed the rover before it landed early Monday. He also helped develop a cannon-like device that deployed the parachute at a key moment during the rover's descent.

   Adams says he and other scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., waited nervously for word on the rover's condition after its rocket-powered landing platform separated from the parachute and then lowered the probe to the surface on cables.

   He says that nervousness became jubilation once signals confirmed the rover had landed.
 

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