Email to MARS

I just had a wonderful visit with my staff at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.  Many do not know that the Wallops Flight Facility is NASA’s ONLY owned and operated launch range.  A short 45-minute  “E-ticket” ride on NASA 8 takes you to one of NASA’s amazing best kept secrets (I suppose I am dating myself to say I remember when you had to have paper tickets for some of the “good” rides at Disneyland).  Nestled quietly between chicken coops and the powerful surf of the Atlantic Ocean, Wallops Flight Facility is home of MARS – not the planet – but to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.  Just think, the quip “to the moon, Alice” would only take a short three hour drive from our nation’s capital to the charming Delmarva Peninsula to reach a full-service space port. Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility


One of my superheroes, Scott Webb, gave me a scenic tour of the manhole infrastructure on Wallops Island.  My mind drifted a second to thoughts of the Maytag Repairman and the bane of every IT service provider – Email.  I really, really hate Email.  I hate it because it has grown to be such a mission essential technological service, yet it has its genesis in Rudy-Poo “best effort” capabilities.  Yet CIO service providers must find a way to make it work.  The infrastructure can’t fail and must be reliable.  And if we succeed, we will be like the Maytag Repairman – forgotten.


Along a marsh-wrapped causeway is a technology infrastructure that is reliable, scalable, and serviceable.  It’s often easy to overlook the engineering fetes of the network superheroes when they do good work.  It’s the loneliest job in the world when your infrastructure works – people forget you.  It’s also the loneliest job in the world when Email stinks – people don’t forget that.  It’s a tough gig to aspire to be forgotten.  At first blush, driving along the road looks like dirt and round metal disks; but it’s an invisible marvel of technology that most people will forget.  It just works. 


And as NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center begins to provide more and more essential services for our nation’s Space Agency, the need for reliable mission communication services enabled by that often-forgotten underground infrastructure becomes more critical.  Pay no attention to that man or woman in the man hole – that’s your unsung hero on Chincoteague Island, VA; Greenbelt, MD; Fairmont, WV; or New York, NY – providing communications services to infinity and beyond. 


Linda Cureton, CIO, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

14 thoughts on “Email to MARS”

  1. Ok, I can’t resist. From the imaging the Scenery on the Outside looks very beautiful and serene. But as you so eloquently stated, the complex infrastructure that is often hidden beneath serene beauty, is overlooked and forgotten, except by those whos’ daily task it is to maintain and service, in order for it to work in an efficent and proper manner.

  2. Linda,
    I’d like to set up a meeting with you and Mark Waltham in Jan. I’m BD Mgr. for NASA for Sun Microsystems. We’ve met, and I’d invited you as a friend on Facebook. Thanks for banana cream cheesecake. Love to visit Wallops also. Have not been there.

    Thanks, Kay



  5. sir/madam ,
    i am ajit kumar sahoo, i heard a news that ( aaj tak hindi news channel) someone (alien) was found in mars, is that true? is there any life in space ? recently i heard a news that NASA has send one kind of music to space , why we spend a lot of money , where there is no life,
    (this is my personal view)

  6. Is the picture above of the space port u mentioned? i agree with you linda while e-mail has made a lot of things easy for us at the same time it does has its own limitations. These days i am in touch with me cousins in my city through emails n facebook but not in person. That does seem to be kind of social isolation. As they say ” Everything has a price. ” So true.

  7. I was talking to my son and he asked me about the temp difference
    during a space walk from sunlight and the shade and what is the temp
    thanks lee

  8. In my country, Indonesian, 70% its resident has not yet used internet/email, temporary in your country is discussing about send email to Mars. In a moment, when You already go to external space, and in our country its resident just uses email for communication.

  9. while on vacation my family and i visited wallops island visitors center. I saw a part of nasa that I had overlooked .I didn’t realize that it was so close to philladelphia. I have been trying to find a launch schedule so my family and I could see a rocket launch in person. I remember watching launches as a kid on a black and white tv and a rocket launch in person is on my bucket list. if there is anything you could do to help me out it would be greatly appreciated.

  10. There is so many secrets. And its very hard to keep them inside for some people. I wrote an about it.

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