Curiosity Drives Exploration

By: Clark Swanson

I was a wee lad leaning against my father on the living room sofa as we waited for Neil Armstrong to leave the lunar module to take those first steps on the moon in 1969. It was July, and despite my best intentions to stay awake, I could not. Sleep washed over me and that moment was lost.

Some 43 years later NASA provides another opportunity to witness history—if only I can stave off sleep this time. In the early hours of August 6, NASA’s Curiosity rover will begin its descent to Mars. If my father were alive today, he would sit and savor every moment because this mission is about exploring rocks on the surface of Mars.

My father appreciated the technical achievement of Armstrong’s flight, but he was all about the rocks. He wanted a glimpse of that first moon rock, as fuzzy and grainy as it might look in black and white. Those rocks were the deal. An avid amateur in his early years, he never lost his fascination for rocks. (His rock collection is housed at Missouri State University, his alma mater.)

I don’t believe my father ever attached any philosophical meaning to his rocks. He simply loved their beauty, marveled at the natural forces that created them, and sought an understanding of how our physical work formed. For him, the Curiosity rover could prove the mother lode. I can imagine him sitting intently, watching and waiting for Curiosity to drill into the first outcropping to reveal the true nature of the rock underneath.

For me, the fascination with the Curiosity rover and this mission is about exploration. Space is the last frontier of discovery for today’s Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan types, having already tackled nearly every square inch of land and sea on earth. The rover is aptly named Curiosity.

In fact, curiosity is one of the words we use to describe our company OrangeBoy. We even named our latest OrangeBoy office cat George, after Curious George—the character in a series of popular children’s books. Instead of mining soil, rocks and other formations, we are mining data. And, what a rich resource that is!

So, if you are inquisitive enough to watch Curiosity land on Mars next Monday, think about applying that interest to your business. How can you explore the data you collect, the observations you make, and the behaviors that describe your customers?

©OrangeBoy, Inc. 2012

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