The Internet culture-friendly engineers and scientists at the Mars Curiosity Rover Mission took to Reddit today to do an AMA, or "ask me anything." They answered everything from nerdy technical questions about the Rover to quirkier ones that revealed the good-natured character of people working on the mission. Below, five things we learned:

  • The people on the mission have to reset their alarm clocks every day to match Mars time. Since Mars days are 40 minutes longer than Earth days, the scientists have to sync their lives to Mars times to maximize efficiency. "It's a bit painful," they admitted. "We re-program our alarm clocks every day.
  • Curiosity's rock-vaporizing laser ChemCam is its coolest feature. The laser on the head of the rover received a lot of love from the scientists throughout the thread. When asked what was the coolest trivia fact, they answered "It's got a friggin' laser on its head, that can VAPORIZE rocks!" Later, when asked if the rover had anything to protect itself, they responded: "I have a laser on my head. 'Nuff said."
  • None of the 14 respondents had doctorate degrees, proving you don't need to be in school forever to have a really awesome science gig. Most of them were engineering graduates. It's a small portion of the 250 scientists and 160 engineers on the team, but it's still cool.
  • The team couldn't do any corrections on the mission because there's about a 14-minute delay between Earth and Mars, even at the speed of light. They just had to trust Curiosity to land herself!
  • If the rover were a Pokemon, it'd be Charizard, "because the landing system flies and shoots fire. Also this is the third generation of Rovers," they said.

To solidify their popularity on the internet, the team tweeted out this photo at the end of the session, based on the McKayla Maroney meme:

Go to the whole thread for more.