Perseverance made history this month in more ways than one.
On February 18, NASA’s Perseverance rover finished traveling 292.5 million miles from Earth and made a safe landing on Mars. Thanks to some supportive family members, we got to watch the historic moment play out through the eyes of Miguel San Martín, the chief engineer of the guidance and control section at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Before becoming one of the foremost Latinos in his field, Miguel grew up in Argentina. He headed to the U.S. after school to chase his dreams of furthering space exploration at NASA.
Originally turned down by Cornell’s engineering program, Miguel went on to earn the title “Engineering Student of the Year” at Syracuse University and later received his master’s degree at MIT.
His family shares his pride in everything he has accomplished since then, and they got to stand beside him as he witnessed this latest advance in science!
“[Miguel] and I have been through five rover landings but this is the first time we’ve experienced one together,” his wife Susan wrote. “Usually he’s in Mission Control. It was quite something!”
Having served as the chief engineer for GN&C (guidance, navigation, and control) for the landing of rovers Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity on the surface of Mars, Miguel has certainly made his mark on space exploration.
Though he took on a different role for this particular Mars mission as an advisor and review panel member, NASA still used Curiosity’s innovative SkyCrane landing architecture, for which Miguel was a co-architect. So for the landing of Perseverance, he was, as he puts it, “a wreck.”
In a video his wife shared, we can see Miguel bursting with joy when they make the landing. As he leaps into the air, he shouts, “Yes!” His wife then says with a laugh, “Oops, he did it again!”
Miguel closes out the video with one simple word: “Unbelievable.” To that, we say: not anymore! It’s all thanks to dreamers and doers like Miguel!
Watch the unforgettable moment play out in the video below, and don’t forget to share this story with your friends.
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