Lunar Rover Engineer Wishes He Had a Dell Computer Back Then

As many of you are aware, Mars rover Curiosity (formally known as MSL or Mars Science Laboratory) landed successfully on the red planet back on August 6, 2012 after nearly 36 weeks of space travel from Earth. Its mission is to look for signs of past habitability on Mars.

And some of you may or may not be aware that Dell had a part in the success of this mission. The parameters of the final landing sequence, dubbed "The Seven Minutes of Terror" by NASA associate administrator John Grunsfeld, were tested and validated using high performance computing (HPC) clusters running Dell PowerEdge servers. He later dubbed the sequence, "The Seven Minutes of Triumph."

After a colleague of mine, Chris Creel, told his father about this, his dad got a big kick out of it. That is no surprise however, because his dad, Ron Creel, was the thermal control engineer on the Lunar Rover back in the 70s. His response was "Thanks, I did not know that. Congrats to Dell!"

He went on to say, "I am using my Dell laptop to make thermal survival calculations for the Nightrover team ( for potential return missions to the Moon. Back in the 1970's it took our mainframe computer about 20 minutes to run a simulation of 24 hours of operation of the Apollo Lunar Rovers on the Moon. When I run it now on my Dell, this simulation only takes less than a second to run!"

Needless to say, I thought that was a pretty cool tidbit. If you have any stories of how a Dell product has made your work or life simpler and faster, please share it with me in the comments below.

About the Author: David Whitworth