Curiosity: An Abiding Achievement In The History Of American Astronautics

Curiosity: An Abiding Achievement In The History Of American Astronautics



American as well as Soviet and European astronautics go to the bounds of the impossible and beyond the incredible of human imagination: exploring efficiently the solar system’s key planets and their satellites following the considerable advances achieved in the field of unmanned exploration thanks to the sterling sequence of space probes from Luna 16, Lunokhod 1, Mariner 10, Venera 3, Venera 7, Mariner 9, Spirit, Opportunity, Mars 3, Sojourner , Halley Armada, Vega program, Stardust, Hayabusa, Rosetta, Pioneer 10,Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Huygens, New Horizons, Juno etc ….that came as a new chapter of outer space and interplanetary exploration to fill the gap after the hailing accomplishments made during the Apollo exploration that has been, generally speaking, reasonably rewarding due to the volume of facts and rock samples brought by American astronauts to enable NASA scientists assessing and analyzing the physico-chemical composition of the Earth’s single satellite, the moon.

Even after the explosion of the sophisticated space shuttles Challenger on 28th January 1986 and Columbia on 1st February 2004, advances in American astronautics continue to be made by NASA’s industrious and innovative community of scientists and engineers who have known how to enable humanity to discover the mysteries of outer space and namely match the planets of the solar system in matter of dynamics, chemical composition, geological formation, atmosphereless planets and satellites and calculate the chances of life on one of the main and magnificent planets of the system : Mars.

Martian exploration has been successfully ensured thanks to unceasing endeavour NASA and its reliable partners have made in the field since November 1971 with space orbiter Mariner 9. Although, NASA’s schedule in terms of timely explorations as it was planned, has been put off due to numerous constraints more often technical and sometimes extraterrestrial that continued to stalemate the scientific and space aspirations either by means of manned or unmanned journeys to explore the Martian world.

Among the devoted defendants of such never-ending enterprises was the veteran American Astronaut Neil Armstrong who had advocated the possibility and power of man to land on Mars’ soil as he did victoriously and verily on the lunar soil on 20th July 1969 by pitching the American flag as a sign and significance of space supremacy of America. At a conference from the Netherlands, Armstrong expressed his availability, in spite of being an elder, to go on a manned flight to Mars. At this level, he has strong disagreements with NASA Administrator Charles F.Bolden and namely with U.S. President Barack Obama whom the disappeared astronaut described as a big barrier against the progress of manned flights to Mars.

Among the top notch of NASA engineers who have alternatively and extraterrestrially worked out the success of the Mars Landing Project, Moroccan-American Telecommunications & Robotics Engineer Kamal Oudghiri, who dutifully assembled with a high standard of perfection with his colleagues at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the key space probes Spirit in 2003 and Opportunity on 2004 as he was himself handpicked on the criteria of distinction and design and he managed to skipper and supervise the grandiose Mars Exploration Rover (MER) under the technological aegis of the JPL, he was among the most accomplished Arab brain-drainees who contributed to the expansion of interplanetary unmanned astronautics by means of the redeeming Robotics, the powerful arm of NASA’s assemblage of different departments from meteorology, biology, biochemistry, geophysics and nanotechnology,etc…. The accomplished engineer supervised within his province the MER program from its infancy until its fully-fledged realization. Without exaggerating, he is considered as the Ibnu Khaldun of “unmanned astronautics” since he enabled NASA with a degree of perfection and punctuality to land with space probe curiosity after spending 687 Earth days to cross the incommensurable distance separating our planet Earth to Mars.

Kamal Ouadghiri, who worked out the “Martian Dream” after many years of research and experimentation at the JPL, has always believed in the hailing success that NASA is cherishing and the futurist program MER is sketching out with a glowing glory. Therefore, his stamp on the prowess of the JPL in particular and NASA in general is a continuum of the pioneers of American astronautics such Robert Goddard and Wenher Von Braun, who both brought American rocketry in particular and astronautics in general to the peak of their revolutionary advances. Symbolically, he came from Morocco’s scientific capital, Fez and he assumes that science requires sublime sacrifice and devotion and “searching for erudition even in China” as the Arab proverb says. Undoubtedly, he finds in the Republic of California in particular and his native Morocco at Al Akhawayn University a double source of incessant inspiration and real resources to relaunch anew the new vanguard version of the reconquest of the moon by 2030.

If the Arab inventor Abbas Ibnu Farnas failed to fly, Kamal Ouardghiri compensated for this medieval martyrdom and aerodynamic inadequacy by the series of space probes such as Explorer, Spirit & Opportunity, Curiosity and he vowed to go to the bounds of sidereal secrets by utilizing Robotics that complement the monitoring mission of powerful telescopes and radio-telescopes in the aims of deepening knowledge of NASA and JPL geologists and biochemists on the probability of life on the red planet.

Given the hugeness of our cosmos, he has taken for granted that giant leaps are becoming possible thanks the tremendous progress space science has attained after more than half century of serious and sustainable research and constant commitment of its faithful fellows.

Although the degree of space manhood has been significantly confined under technological limitations, exploring outer space by means of highly sophisticated space probes after the wear and tear of most space shuttles became very practical. Then, exploratory enterprise became only a matter of scientific potency and budgetary availability to fund diverse sectors of the space industry.

Perhaps the idea of propounding space strategic partnerships became a counsel of perfection for the high-minded community of NASA & JPL engineers, scientists and astronauts since any financial fusion would empower a bigger and better boost to the multinational space adventure so that it would reach the ranges of universality and ubiquity to make of science a shared homeland without bounds or flag.

Incomparable Interplanetary innovation of Anglo-Saxons, Germans and Anglo-Americans, Jews and the Arabs created a miracle of magnificence and manhood that state that man is not the centre of his planet Earth but he is the hub of his universe. These centrifugal explorations, as we have read in the Science Fiction novel and film “The Planet of Apes” of Pierre Boule, let us think about our position and role in the hugely unexplored cosmos and confess the meanness of our man’s effort and his microcorpuscular dimension as living creature in our galaxy, the Milky Way among other galaxies that constitute the extraterrestrial cluster even if the mission is extravagant in terms of time and endeavour of exploring the remotest Realms of the Kingdom of Heaven, it remains like a drop in the ocean without neglecting our proven helplessness to cope with this extremely high-flying challenge.

Any dream needs a dreamer but they should not disbelieve one day their dreams once they relinquish and ban from their mind the old thought and refurbish and renew the exploratory module once judged “outdated”. And Arab-American engineer Kamal is just one rising embodiment and icon of unmanned space Science in quest for traces of extraterrestrial life and beings.


By Bouzekri Chakroune
[symple_box color=”blue” text_align=”left” width=”100%” float=”none”]bouzekri chakroune
Mr.Bouzekri Chakroune is a long-time writer for numerous dailies, weekly and monthly magazines since 2002. As a self-funded, independent researcher, he is writing on a large variety of topics related to political, literary profiles, cultural and international issues.