WASHINGTON — When the White Home known as to congratulate NASA on the profitable touchdown of the Mars rover Perseverance, appearing administrator Steve Jurczyk new instantly it was the actual deal.
“About an hour after touchdown, I received a cellphone name from the president of america, and his first phrases have been, ‘Congratulations, man,’” Jurczyk recalled throughout a Feb. 18 press convention on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “I knew it was him. I wasn’t getting punked.”
Jurczyk stated that President Biden stated he was happy with the touchdown “and wished me to ship my regards to Percy.” He added that the president wished to congratulate the group personally ultimately. “We’re trying ahead to having the president of america congratulate the group this week.”
Biden additionally tweeted out his congratulations to the company for the touchdown of the one-ton rover on Mars. “Congratulations to NASA and everybody whose exhausting work made Perseverance’s historic touchdown doable,” he acknowledged. “Immediately proved as soon as once more that with the facility of science and American ingenuity, nothing is past the realm of chance.”
These feedback have been echoed by many different political figures, together with Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden and lots of members of Congress, via social media posts and press releases.
“Congratulations to NASA for as we speak’s profitable touchdown of Perseverance,” stated Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), rating member of the Home Science Committee, in a press release. “Seven months in the past, we launched this rover stuffed with hope and pleasure. Immediately we sat via the well-known seven minutes of terror as Perseverance fell via the environment, slowing down so it may safely land.”
“Sending a car-size rover to plunge via the Martian environment at speeds of over 12,000 miles per hour and execute a collection of advanced entry, first rate, and touchdown procedures resulting in a profitable touchdown on the floor isn’t any small feat,” stated Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), chair of the Home Science Committee, in a press release.
A number of members of Congress had a front-row seat to the celebration. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), rating member of the Senate appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA, was at JPL, watching from a gallery overlooking the mission operations middle.
“We noticed proof of how succesful we’re with know-how, science and engineering,” he stated in an interview shortly after the touchdown. “However there’s definitely a human side that you could be not see in the event you learn an article or see an area mission on tv, to see the dedication, the pleasure, the trouble of the members of this group at JPL.”
The profitable touchdown by Perseverance might assist NASA’s broader exploration efforts, together with missions to the moon and long-term plans for human expeditions to Mars. “We’re definitely considering supporting additional planetary exploration. We should stability that when once more, as we do on a regular basis, with the varied missions of NASA,” he stated. “I feel that what occurs at Mars does have a consequence to what occurs on the moon, and vice versa. They go collectively.”
He cautioned, although, that these efforts should full with different priorities, inside and out of doors of the company. “We’ll have our work reduce out for us with restricted funds to garner the best stage of assist that we are able to, but additionally attempt to prioritize which missions are a very powerful,” he stated. The success of Perseverance “might be a assist in garnering assist throughout Congress for the required funding.”
That prioritization was proof within the fiscal 12 months 2021 appropriations invoice Congress handed in December, which absolutely funded components of NASA’s general Artemis lunar exploration program, such because the Area Launch System and Orion, however offered solely a few quarter of NASA’s requested funding for the Human Touchdown System program. That put the earlier administration’s objective of returning people to the floor of the moon by 2024 in jeopardy.
“I’m a supporter of the Artemis program, however we did make selections that different issues, along with Artemis, wanted to be funded,” he stated. “I’m anxious to see what the administration’s priorities are and anxious to know what the priorities are of a brand new administrator of NASA.” The White House endorsed the Artemis program in general Feb. 4, however not particularly the 2024 objective.
The touchdown of Perseverance had different advantages as properly. “One takeaway for me as we speak is that I preserve on the lookout for these moments in our nation that carry us collectively within the political, cultural, citizenship type of manner, and encourage youngsters throughout our nation to pursue careers in science, arithmetic and engineering,” Moran stated. “This was a type of days to drag the nation collectively and encourage one other era of American scientists.”