Today is a very special day for a very special person, who I know reads this blog. Today, after years and years of unbelievably hard work, JPL’s Keri Bean will become a Mars rover driver, and will take Opportunity’s wheel as she explores Perseverance Valley.
I’ve been friends with Keri online, via Twitter, for quite a while now, and it’s been fascinating – and humbling – to follow her career progress. I think I can honestly say I know how much today will mean to her when NASA hands her Oppy’s keys. She has worked so hard for this she will be shining (and possibly shaking, too!) when she sits down and gets down to work. Keri is a huge Star Wars fan – actually “huge” doesn’t even come close! – so no doubt she will be surrounded by photos of Rey and Leia and a cuddly Porg or two. And I’m pretty sure there’ll be an R2D2 or two close by too…
I’m not going to wish Keri luck, because she won’t need it. She got where she is today because of her dedication, hard work and determination, and she’ll only be more dedicated, work harder and be more determined now she’s in that driver’s seat. Instead, I’ll wish Keri – on behalf of all this blog’s readers – the very, very best of days, and great success for the future. I’m sure that in the weeks, months and hopefully years to come Keri will help steer our amazing girl safely down Perseverance Valley and to wonderful places further along the road.
So, Keri, have a fantastic day – and this post, and the following images of your new workplace, are dedicated to you!
Go get ’em, Keri!