During the excitement of Summer Olympic Games in London this past week, NASA had a huge win itself. The latest Mars rover, named Curiosity, successfully landed on our neighboring planet – and it’s exciting that high performance computing (HPC) played a major role. One of the most complex phases of the project managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) was the landing sequence, where HPC played a key role.

(IMAGE from NASA Mars Science Laboratory - Click on it to see a larger version) 

The main mission for Curiosity is to look for life, and past signs of life on Mars. From our work with higher education institutions worldwide, to our sponsorship of the Student Cluster Challenge at SC events, Dell has been involved in several projects designed at helping inspire the next generation computational scientists and researcher, and specifically for HPC. We interviewed several customers involved at HPC at a recent SC conference, and asked, what can we do to excite top students so they pursue a career in HPC, and a common answer was to inspire them.
 
The fact that HPC plays such a key role in exciting projects such as this Mars mission, and the hunt for life beyond Earth is exactly the type of inspiration needed. The HPC industry is exactly what we need to tap into the imagination and ambition of our top students, and attract them to become computational scientists and researchers.
 
I’m proud to say that Dell HPC solutions played a big role in helping NASA land Curiosity successfully. More about this successful Mars landing managed by NASA can be found here:
 
National Geographic: Curiosity Mars-Rover Landing: "Everything Worked Perfectly"

NASA: Mars Science Laboratory

insideHPC: Dell Clusters Power Mars Landing Sequence

Dell News Announcement: Dell Helps to Power NASA’s Latest Mission to Mars