To most every American, this is Thanksgiving. But to Dan Isla, this is two days before the big launch. Isla is spending a good part of his holiday preparing for Saturday morning's launch of NASA's mobile robotic laboratory, beginning a two-year mission to Mars. Liftoff is scheduled for 8 a.m. Mountain time on Nov. 26.
Isla, a 2009 Boise State grad, is part of the launch operations team for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. An Atlas V rocket, currently sitting on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Fla., includes Curiosity which, NASA says, has more scientific capability than any other robotic rover sent to any other planet.
While at Boise State, Isla served as a student leader of an engineering project conducted in NASA's Microgravity University program.