Grand Ledge man helps with the Mars rover

Grand Ledge man helps with NASA rover
Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 6:14 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 19, 2021 at 6:19 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The NASA rover “Perseverance” has arrived on Mars and a man from Mid-Michigan is playing a big part in its success.

It was a seven-month flight for “Perseverance.” But for Grand Ledge grad and NASA space teamer Terry Himes, the mission to working on the rover started long ago with two high school buddies.

“They were taking biology and running tests on these mice. I was shooting rockets up behind the high school,” said Himes.

The snow-packed fields at Grand Ledge High School near the baseball fields are where Himes’ earliest science experiments came to life.

“I was shooting rockets up and we were talking and they said ‘hey, why don’t we combine those two, why don’t we see if we can shoot these rockets up with the mice and I’m going to run tests before and after and that will be a great biology experiment for us... You will get an A in biology, and I’ll get an A in physics,’” said Himes.

Five of the six mice lived. The experiment gathered enough attention for the newspaper to do a story on them. Himes was hooked on space travel.

“It was the time, you know, the next step towards a new moon landing. So everybody was really jazzed about the space program at that time.”

Time moved on and Himes moved to California and started working in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with NASA. The Mars 2020 mission is special to him, he’s having fun, just like he did back at Grand Ledge High School.

“It’s amazing. Every event is absolutely amazing. I count myself as very lucky.”

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