NASA control room packed with Apple Macs during Mars Curiosity rover landing

“Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words, like those that appeared over NASA’s live feed showing a control room riddled with Macs and other Apple products during the historical landing of the Curiosity rover on planet Mars last night,” Slash Lane reports for AppleInsider.

“The photos, captured from the live stream by Reddit users (via TMO), show nearly a dozen Macs — in addition to iPhones and even iPads — in use by the space agency’s Entry, Descent and Landing Operations (EDL Ops) team at its Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California Sunday evening,” Lane reports.

Lane reports, “NASA engineers can be seen fixated on their MacBook Pro screens and incoming data as the $2.6 billion Curiosity made a dramatic arrival on the Martian planet during what NASA scientists have dubbed ‘seven minutes of terror.'”

Apple Mac dominate Jet Propulsion Laboratory control room in Pasadena, California
Apple Mac dominate Jet Propulsion Laboratory control room in Pasadena, California

More info and photos in the full article here.


    1. Oh it would have arrived alright, however it would have used the surface of Mars as its means slowing down…..and they would have named the rover “crater” instead of curiosity….

    2. That’s nothing new. At the time of the landing of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity in 2004, photos showed many Apple computers, significantly outnumbering the Dells and others.

      What do do you want to bet that those 2004 Dells were running Linux, not Windows?

    1. This issue dates back to the dark days when the CIO at JSC was getting LOTS of DIRECT support (both personal and professional) from Microsoft, and he decreed that JSC would never buy another Apple product. All (yes, ALL) Apple products immediately started being phased out as fast as possible. The IT staff was even replacing recently purchased and installed Macs with Wintel boxes just to get rid of the Macs.

      People started complaining as to the inappropriate nature of his relationship with Microsoft; Washington finally took note (after a couple years or so) and demanded that he stop his crusade against all things Apple. But, by then it was too late. He had already installed Microsoft fanatics at the intermediate and top IT levels and the vast majority of Apple products were already replaced by Wintel machines… and the rest is history.

  1. With the amazing penetration of Mac’s these days it’s no wonder to see top level brain types with MacBook’s but sadly I would guess there is a lot of VM’s running windows in that crowd.

    Some Dev’s just don’t get it.

    1. I’d guess most are doing unix/linux command line work. The ironic thing is NASA is using the legacy Unix underpinnings of OS X and Apple could care less about promoting it.

      1. While there is a fair amount of stuff happening in X11 at NASA, you might be surprised by the how much Mac (nowadays, almost all MacBook Pros & Airs) use is native. But you are right about the Unix underpinnings – the ability to run Unix apps is big plus at both the space agency and in the astronomical community in general.

    1. Wow…so NASA went to Mars, landed, had a walk around and left a flag? Then took off back to earth where….
      I know you yanks love conspiracy theories but that would be the mother of all secrets.

  2. Wow, NASA staff are actually Apple Genuis’! Ummmm.. That new campus has new meaning. Apple could be scoping out a new location for their future research and development. That Apple campus/spaceship building could be the vehicle! LOL.

  3. I recall a story from the 1990s involving NASA’s Goddard facility outside Washington. Many involved in monitoring Shuttle operations were using Macs (pre- OS X). A new IT guy came on board and didn’t like the diversity so he decided they would “standardize” on … Windows 95! As one might expect, personnel were livid and filed a complaint that went all the way to the Inspector General who concluded that the proposed mandate was made without adequate study or review.

  4. I noticed the Apple laptops too, so I started looked for other gear. The workstations seemed to be Sun boxes running Solaris or some Linux variant.

    I didn’t see a single Windows logo until the press conference (in a large conference room (across campus from the mission control room), where a Windows logo appeared on the projection screen! And it was Windows XP! Ha!

    The Windows Vista/7/8 teams must have been proud of that….

  5. I used to support Nasa and other government agencies.

    Not surprised at all. They had a heavy mix of everything.

    I saw everything from IBM RS workstations, Macs, Dells and Thinkpads running everything from Windows, OS X, Linux, AIX and Solaris.

    If there was anything constant it was Unix, Linux and Java.

  6. Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words

    Yeah well, I watched the entire press conference live after the landing. I suspect there’s an unedited copy up on YouTube. If you look at the screen at the front of the room during the long period of self-congratulations, you’ll see some industrious dweeb tossing the WINDOWS logo on top of the screen images. It’s not a screensaver. It’s entirely deliberate.

    As I watched I wondered whether the guy was paid or just thoroughly deranged. Memories of bad times at NASA, when Macs were VERBOTEN, came flooding to mind. Isn’t it wonderful how, even during the most marvelous of technological accomplishments, there’s always some dope with a lunatic agenda. Yeah right. Windows got the USA to Mars. I’ll bet.

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