Bucks County Native Helps "Curiosity" Prevail

Benjamin Cichy, a graduate of Neshaminy High School, is the chief software engineer for the Mars Science Laboratory mission

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    Curiosity, a computerized vehicle, successfully landed on Mars early Monday morning.

    Early Monday morning, NASA accomplished a huge achievement that will begin a new era of robotic planetary exploration for the United States.

    Curiosity, a computerized rover, landed on the Mars at 1:31 a.m. EST, after traveling 350-million miles through space to get there.

    The mission control room in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California erupted in celebration when Curiosity successfully landed. One of the members in the room celebrating was Benjamin Cichy.

    Cichy is the chief software engineer for the Mars Science Laboratory mission and he has some local ties to the area. The 35-year old man is a graduate of Neshaminy High School and a native of Bucks County.

    In his current role, he works on Entry Descent and Landing Systems phase of the mission, as well as designing Flight Software for surface operations for Curiosity.

    Cichy works on a team whose main goal is to determine the planet’s habitability.

    “We will be able to see how the environment was formed over the history of Mars,” Cichy said during an interview with phillyBurbs. “It will give us sort of a history book and each chapter will tell us how the planet was formed.”

    For more information or to see images of its voyage, visit the Mars Science Laboratory Website or follow @MarsCuriosity on Twitter.