As if last week’s landing of the rover Curiosity on Mars weren’t cool enough news on its own, that landing also contained an acknowledging nod towards our very own Rochester, NY.
Street cred? Nah, Man. Space cred – something Rochester apparently has had for quite some time, albeit, slightly under the radar.
When you think of cities rich in space technologies, you probably think of Houston or Cape Canaveral. But Rochester? 8 years ago during the summer of 2004, NASA and Xerox announced a technology partnership, formed to help NASA implement the then Vision for Space Exploration. The Constellation Program ended with last summer’s final Endeavor launch, but space investigation is not dead – far from it. Our Greater Rochester Area continues to be of help in space discovery – which brings us back to the Curiosity.
NASA’s Curiosity, a robotic rover now on the surface of Mars, carries a little piece of home with it. A variety of optics manufactured by Optimax Systems Inc., a Wayne County optics firm, is used in the cameras that are attached to Curiosity’s remote sensing mass. Additionally, the rover is operating with image sensors manufactured by Truesense Imaging Inc. of Rochester. That’s 2 points for the home team!
It should come as no surprise, then, that one of New York’s three chapters of the National Space Society (the other two both hosted in the New York City area) calls Rochester home. This non-profit, grassroots organization dedicates itself to the creation of civilization in space and is widely touted as the preeminent citizen’s voice on space. Rochester’s NSS chapter is made up of local space enthusiasts who are all very passionate regarding the future of space travel and is extremely active in promoting space education throughout schools and exhibits at area events. Any member will adamantly confirm for you that although the space shuttle program has ended, space travel is only just beginning.
To learn more about NSS membership or their upcoming plans for space travel, check out their mission statement. Even if you never got to go to Space Camp like you dreamed of as a kid, the next best thing may just be in your backyard!