This guy is pretty cool!
Adam Steltnzer begins his motivational speeches with, “I want to share with you how much we got wrong…”. This is not a statement one would expect from the EDL (Entry, Descent, and Landing) development manager of NASA’s rover, Curiosity, which successfully landed on Mars in 2012. However, Adam continues his speech by encouraging youngsters, “…never to let the fact that you might be wrong, get in the way of you trying to find out what’s right.” It takes a true Creative Hero to continue to explore and invent in the face of perceived failures until finally achieving success. Mr. Steltnzer is no stranger to exploring various “wrong” options. He was born into a wealthy family and although was exposed to some of the finest educational institutions, showed little interest in academics and even failed high school geometry. During high school, Adam began playing in a garage band and upon graduation went to the Berklee College of Music for one year prior to dropping out. He openly admits to living life on the wild side during this period of his life saying that he was studying “sex, drugs and rock & roll”. Nevertheless, Adam became inspired by constellations of stars one evening and enrolled in a physics class as a prerequisite to an astronomy class at the College of Marin. Very humble beginnings for a later illustrious career in astrophysics. Thus began Adam’s 14-year journey through higher education, ultimately completing a Ph.D. in engineering mechanics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During his academic career, Adam began working for NASA in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He worked on several flight projects but is most well-known for his leadership in designing the “Sky Crane” for the Mars rover, the Curiosity.
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