Smart is Sexy
In light of Curiosity’s successful landing, everyone became enamored with Bobak Ferdowsi. But it’s not just Bobak who is sexy and smart. NASA engineer Adam Steltzner has the brains and the sexy rocker past.
From Rock Star Dreams To Rocket Science
Steltzner’s path to becoming team leader for this new Mars lander was hardly direct. Unlike many successful engineers, he struggled at school. An elementary school principal told him he wasn’t very bright. His high school experience seemed to confirm that.
“I passed my geometry class the second time with an F plus, because the teacher just didn’t want to see me again,” he says.
His father told him he’d never amount to anything but a ditch digger, a remark he still carries with him years later.
Maybe that’s because school wasn’t a priority, particularly with the distractions of the flower-power era in the Bay Area.
“I was sort of studying sex, drugs and rock and roll in high school,” says Steltzner. It wasn’t just the long hair. “I liked to wear this strange Air Force jump suit. And my first car was a ‘69 Cadillac hearse. I put a bed in the back.”
Talk about a night to remember. “Well, I was younger. It was a different time,” says Steltzner.
After high school, the plan was to be a rock star. While he waited for stardom, Steltzner played bass guitar in Bay Area bands, watching his friends graduate and go off to college.
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Another rocket scientist rock star. I’m telling you, the Curiosity team is one of the best things to happen to science in the public eye in years. Weird, smart, funny, excited youthful.