Curiosity success boosts Florida’s Space Coast

The Curiosity rover’s Mars landing is a big success for NASA a little more than a year after the end of the shuttle program.

The landing could herald a new focus for Florida’s Space Coast, on research and exploration rather than what essentially was a taxi service shuttling astronauts to the International Space Station in low-Earth orbit, say University of Central Florida space experts Dale Ketcham and Josh Colwell this week on Intersection.

“To me it’s a symbol of NASA getting back to what we want to be doing, which is what we haven’t done before,” Ketcham says.

Florida’s Space Coast, already the beneficiary of a large government program, historically received a small share of space research and exploration funds, Ketcham says. Now that the shuttle program has ended and the Space Coast is working to diversity its economy Curiosity’s success could make it easier to lobby for those funds, he says.

Have you been following Curiosity’s Mars mission?

Tune into Intersection and then share your perspective here on Florida Talks. Intersection airs Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. and is rebroadcast Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. Or listen online here.

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