Roger Wiens and his family traveled to Florida this week.
But this was no ordinary Thanksgiving holiday.
Wiens is in Cape Canaveral, Fla., to witness the launch of The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
Aboard the rocket is NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover. And an integral part of the rover is ChemCam.
That is where Wiens comes in. Wiens, who works at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, is the principal investigator of the ChemCam.
“This was the best time frame to launch,” Wiens said, “because of the proximity of Mars to Earth.”
It will take Curiosity close to eight and one-half months to get to Mars.