It was a bit surreal to stand in the middle of Times Square and hear a throng of revelers chant “NASA! NASA!” as if the space agency had just won a gold medal in the Olympics. They were cheering the successful landing of Curiosity on Mars, a $2.5 billion endeavor that saw NASA’s most advanced rover yet enter the planet’s atmosphere at a blistering 13,200 miles per hour.
At 11:30pm EDT, when NASA started broadcasting coverage of the event, the crowd was thin and slightly underwhelmed. Many complained to me that the Toshiba Vision screen, dwarfed by a blinding Dunkin’ Donuts advertisement below it, was hard to see and that the only audio provided was through a smartphone app that seemed to be running a minute behind the visuals.
Several younger attendees seemed more excited about…
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