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.