“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of US (1858 – 1919)

“Dare mighty things” is a slogan used extensively by NASA in promotional videos for the Curiosity Rover landing on August 5, 2012. I tuned into NASA TV 1 last night to watch the entire sequence of events from the vehicle’s approach to Mars, through entry into the atmosphere, parachute deployment, rocket pack maneuvers, sky crane operation, landing on the surface, and finally, first pictures back after Curiosity oriented herself on the surface of Mars. It was an extraordinary event and it was amazing to watch the optimism, tension, fear, elation, victory, celebration, and tears of the men and women in the Jet Propulsion Lab at the California Institute of Technology. This was the culmination of an eight year project to get this rover to Mars. Everything hinged on a complicated landing system that would safely deposit the rover on the Martian ground so that the real science of analyzing the surface of Mars could begin.

And they did it! I must admit to having a few doubts as I saw how complicated the landing system was. Yes, it was the engineering solution that ultimately made the most sense; but there were just so many things that could go wrong. Yet these amazing professionals worked as a team to put an SUV sized vehicle on a planet millions of kilometers away.2

There are plenty of take-away messages from ventures like this. Perhaps we could incorporate the “dare mighty things” into a lot more of our life. What could be accomplished by working together in teams? How can we use the mighty deeds accomplished by this team to inspire us in our work lives, our families, our churches, our communities, and our country? What indeed are we capable of accomplishing? What mighty things are sitting on the shelf in our own lives waiting for us to dare to accomplish them? Today, while there is still time, dare mighty things!

1. http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html
2. The earth and Mars are 55 million to 400 million kilometers apart depending on where they are each at in their orbits (http://www.universetoday.com/14824/distance-from-earth-to-mars/)

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