Two Accomplishments We Should Be Celebrating

Published: February 22, 2021

By Jim Lichtman
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It is sad to watch so much attention focused on events in Washington brought about by one individual at the cost of learning about the thousands of talented individuals responsible for the many accomplishments that should be receiving more attention.

The latest generation of mars rovers, Perseverance, successfully landed on the surface of Mars.

Yes, that’s a selfi

NASA reports, “The largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world touched down on Mars Thursday, after a 203-day journey traversing 293 million miles (472 million kilometers). Confirmation of the successful touchdown was announced in mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California at 3:55 p.m. EST (12:55 p.m. PST).

” ‘This landing is one of those pivotal moments for NASA, the United States, and space exploration globally – when we know we are on the cusp of discovery and sharpening our pencils, so to speak, to rewrite the textbooks,’ said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk. ‘The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission embodies our nation’s spirit of persevering even in the most challenging of situations, inspiring, and advancing science and exploration. The mission itself personifies the human ideal of persevering toward the future and will help us prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.’ ”

What makes this rover special from the others?

“Equipped with seven primary science instruments, the most cameras ever sent to Mars, and its exquisitely complex sample caching system – the first of its kind sent into space – Perseverance will scour the Jezero region for fossilized remains of ancient microscopic Martian life, taking samples along the way.

” ‘Perseverance is the most sophisticated robotic geologist ever made, but verifying that microscopic life once existed carries an enormous burden of proof,’ said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division. ‘While we’ll learn a lot with the great instruments we have aboard the rover, it may very well require the far more capable laboratories and instruments back here on Earth to tell us whether our samples carry evidence that Mars once harbored life.’ ”

“Mastcam-Z is a pair of zoomable science cameras on Perseverance’s remote sensing mast, or head, that creates high-resolution, color 3D panoramas of the Martian landscape. Also located on the mast, the SuperCam uses a pulsed laser to study the chemistry of rocks and sediment and has its own microphone to help scientists better understand the property of the rocks, including their hardness.”

This is yet another incredible success brought about by thousands of talented individuals at NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Photo: Hospital for Special Surgery

Dr. Jonathan Vigdorchik uses a new piece of technology to guide his hand during knee surgery: 3-D glasses.

Referred to as “augmented reality,” this remarkable technology “gives a surgeon the ability to see and follow operating plans projected onto the lens of smart glasses, allowing for more precise removal of bone and cartilage and more accurate positioning of a knee implant,” The Wall Street Journal reports (Jan. 21).

…“At many time points during the operation it’s actually providing me information, making sure that my cuts are degree for degree, millimeter for millimeter, accurate,” Dr. Vigdorchik said.

…“At the start of each procedure, Dr. Vigdorchik put on a pair of augmented reality glasses. The lens of the see-through glasses, manufactured by Vuzix Corp., includes a digital display that lets him view the patient’s knee and the surgical planning parameters that helped him accurately position the implants.

“The display screen inside the glasses can show a 3-D model of the leg with a diagram of planned cuts. The display is interactive. If a surgeon makes cuts exactly as planned, a green line appears as instruments are moving. If cuts are off, the line turns red.”

We live in a remarkable time where technological improvements not only make it easier for cars to navigate to our destination, but can precisely guide a surgeon’s hand and more such advancements are coming.

“Increasingly, health-care providers have been expanding their use of AR for procedures that require extreme precision.” …

“Tuong Huy Nguyen, a senior principal analyst at research and advisory firm Gartner, said the market for augmented reality technology will grow as the technology finds new uses.

“ ‘AR is the next generation in computing experiences,” he said. ‘This is how we’ll interact with the world.’ ”

A sub-value of responsibility is the pursuit of excellence. Commitment to personal as well as professional excellence develops greater knowledge, skills, and the judgment necessary in making things better for ourselves and society.

Let’s honor those, who through their talent and commitment to excellence, make things better for all of us.


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