< Back to Blogs


by Patrick Woida

May 02, 2008 - We have now completed our ORT10 dress rehearsal. It’s been a long road getting from taking a few days to just get through one day on Mars a year ago to being able to execute day by day the activities we need to do everyday for the mission. Are we 100% ready? I hope not! We are
well prepared, I’m told by those with many missions under their belts we’re the best prepared team they’ve ever seen. But if we knew everything that would happen, knew all the answers, there wouldn’t be much point in going. This is a mission of discovery, and I hope no matter how prepared we are that Mars has a few surprises in store. Will it be hard? You can be sure of that! But to evoke Kennedy, “…we don’t go because it’s easy; we go because it’s hard…”

The exercise is very good to train the robot how to work on Mars, and important for the team to learn how to work with that robot millions of miles away. We learn something new every time we shake out our tools, procedures, and personnel.

Frankly I needed the ORT to pacify me. I’m getting so impatient to reach Mars.
The chance to at least run a few simulated sols is a great way to channel my energy for
at least a few days. Although it went well, a trip to Mars is NEVER a slam dunk,
no matter how prepared you are. I find Mars hangs at that point where our reach is
about equal to our grasp. Weeks like this one does build confidence for myself and my teammates. We probably never can be ready enough, but from my perspective,
we are up to the challenge.

I’m sure Mars doesn’t care what plans we’ve made, he will lead us down a different road
than we’ve spent these months rehearsing. That won’t hurt us, it will test us. We
have the abilities, we have the passion, we have the means.With only weeks to go,
the time is nearly here to unleash this band of explorers to a new frontier.