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December 19, 2013 / Brandon

JPL, Engineering at its Finest – B+W Engineering and Design Blog

JPL, Engineering at its Finest #CivilEngineer

I will bring up a lot more tidbits more related to some engineers I know in real life.

I watch this video in awe of what humans are capable of. JPL is that place where dreams are being made possible. Travelling to Mars. Mars! And let me say that again Mars!! And you know I will try to relate this to Civil Engineering somehow. Not really sure how, but I will.

This country, specifically, is amazing. The skill set of an engineer is intense to say the least. I started off as a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, so space exploration holds something special to me from when I knew I wanted to get into engineering. This was at a very early age, before I was a teen. I was accepted into UC Irvine under this double major, something I can check off the list of where I wanted to be headed. Very early on I realized I had much more interest in buildings so my career path changed in midswing. Even though the math is the same, the concept of theory compared to the concept of what gets built is where I pinpointed what I wanted to do. I think I can check off following my heart on that list. After seeing this video, my brain is completely turned upside down. A rocket going into orbit, and then turning into another device to get to Mars. That is real life transformers. Not some made up movie based on a cartoon/anime. But a real life robot turning into something else. My heart beats faster as I hear the noise and see what’s going on. Yes I know this is an animation. But the end result is that we are attempting to go to Mars!

Say what you will about the government and their endless list of money being thrown out the window. I love NASA. NASA to me is a tangible means to create dreams. Dreams for kids like myself who wanted to design something. Kids who want to challenge themselves and want to solve that problem. My early example of a mechanical engineer was the soda can. I was told, “Someone had to design that tab to break the lid and let you drink”. I was hooked. I grew up during the age of space exploration. This is amazing stuff no matter how tiny the end result is. Why? Because there are engineers calculating their minds out to figure out something that hasn’t been done before. Impressive.

You knew it was coming. This is how I see Civil Engineering. We are constantly learning of new code changes for buildings. We have to filter through the government entities to get our projects approved. While we aren’t going to space we still have to use our knowledge to help us make a project get approved. The whole point is that what we design will last a long time and be safe in the meantime. I could say that this isn’t rocket science. But in a way, it is. There is still a lot of high level math involved in creating our designs. Thankfully we have tools to make that high level math easier. My hair would be more grey and more torn out if we didn’t. One day there is a decrepit building or vacant land, and a year or so later a new shiny new building is sitting there. No this isn’t rocket science. Civil Engineering is building science. As we start to travel further into outerspace we still need to create back on the homeland.

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