Monday, May 10, 2021

NASA and '60 Minutes' explore the contributions of Asian-Americans to the Mars mission of Perseverance and Ingenuity

I decided to not give Elon Musk "his own post about space and technology tomorrow to dominate" today. That's because I didn't feel like taking another bite from that apple after 'SNL' celebrates Mother's Day with the cast's and guests' moms. Instead, NASA and "60 Minutes" gave me different material for a space and technology post combined with a celebration of diversity for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month just like they did for International Women's Day. I open with NASA's With Much Ingenuity, We Soar Together.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Honoring the culture, tradition, and diversity of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, NASA celebrates the achievements of individuals and teams that support our missions every day.

With the recent milestone of performing the first-ever controlled, powered flight on another planet, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Project Manager MiMi Aung shares her experience and hopes for the younger generation.
"60 Minutes" featured MiMi Aung and Al Chen in Perseverance rover, Ingenuity helicopter, and the search for ancient life on Mars, again highlighting the importance of Asian-Americans in the current Mars mission.

Anderson Cooper reports on the nerve-wracking Mars landing of the rover Perseverance, the painstaking process of launching the tiny helicopter Ingenuity, and the extraordinary images the two have already sent back to Earth.
That's an amazing segment for a space enthusiast like me. I wanted more and I got it in More images from Mars, the "60 Minutes Overtime" web extra.

"This is something that we've never done before," said NASA's Al Chen about the cameras that captured the dramatic landing.
In addition to being awestruck by the images of the landing, I enjoyed watching Anderson Cooper geek out about piloting Terry, the terrestrial demonstration version of Ingenuity as much as I enjoyed geeking out about the rover and drone myself.

I close with NASA's NASA Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month 2021, featuring other scientists and engineers working at the space agency in addition to Aung and Chen.

Each May, NASA commemorates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month to recognize the significant contributions of past and present employees of AAPI descent. Each of them embody the enduring and resilient spirit this community brings to advancing science, research, and discovery. Hear their stories.
Like NASA, I think the U.S. as a whole needs to use all the talent it has and can get, so diversity is one of the country's strengths. That makes the current spike in anti-Asian hate crimes all the more tragic and counterproductive. I'll examine that in future posts this month. Right now, I just want to celebrate something positive.

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