EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Nov. 18 – A San Diego-based Wyle employee has been selected by NASA to be one of 150 Twitter followers to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for a two-day Tweetup, Nov. 23 and 25 that will culminate in the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Cara Thiem, a Tierrasanta resident, has been selected as one of 150 @NASA Twitter followers to attend and Tweet the event. Curiosity is anticipated to arrive at the Red Planet’s Gale crater in August 2012. During the two-year mission, the rover will investigate whether a selected area of Mars offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life and will preserve evidence about life if it existed.
As a NASA Tweetup attendee, Thiem and the other 149 Twitter users will interact with engineers and scientists as well as tour the Kennedy Space Center. If all goes as scheduled, participants will view the spacecraft launch. In addition, participants will meet other tweeps and members of NASA’s social media team. Attendees were selected through a lottery system in which more than 1,050 @NASA Twitter followers registered.
“I hope that my tweets from the event inspire others to think outside the box and make their dreams a reality just as NASA has done for the past 53 years,” said Thiem. “As an artistic individual I have always been inspired by man’s creative ability to turn abstract dreams like spaceflight into a reality.
“I think of people like my grandmother and how over the course of her life she saw not only aircraft take flight but also man walk on the moon. I remember watching TV with her in ‘97 and seeing the images from the Sojourner rover landing on Mars and I can only imagine the things my son will get to see over the course of his lifetime.”
Thiem serves as a multimedia specialist for Wyle, specializing in videography, graphic design and web design. She has contributed to several of Wyle’s NASA-related projects. In addition to Thiem’s artistic endeavors, she is also an active runner and outdoor enthusiast who successfully summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in July with an all female team. Follow Thiem’s Tweets at twitter.com/thepixelvixen.
Managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., the Mars Science Laboratory is the fourth space mission launching this year. Aquarius, launched June 10 to study ocean salinity, was the first; Juno, launched Aug. 5 to study the origins and interior of Jupiter; and the twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory orbiters, which departed for the moon on Sept. 10.
The MSL Curiosity rover is equipped with 10 science instruments and will search Mars for evidence it has had environments favorable for microbial life. The rover will include a laser to heat rocks which will release gasses that will be analyzed by a spectrometer with the data sent back to Earth. Launch management for the mission is the responsibility of NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Find additional information about the Mars Science Laboratory mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.
Wyle, a privately held company, is a leading provider of high tech aerospace engineering and information technology services to NASA, DoD and other federal government agencies on long-term outsourcing contracts. The company also provides test and evaluation of aircraft, weapon systems, networks, and other government assets; and other engineering services to the aerospace, defense, and nuclear power industries.