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  • 5 minutes

John Zarnecki on motivation

Updated Wednesday, 30th March 2011
John Zarnecki devoted almost 20 years to landing the Huygens probe on Titan. Here, he discusses his motivation.

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John Zarnecki

Well the way that I prepared myself for a 20 year project without any guarantee of success was to give myself lots of intermediate goals along the way, so some of those were driven by the technology, the instrument design, getting through the various stages of, for example, the vibration testing or testing to simulate deep space, the vacuum, the extreme cold.  So each of those little steps was an achievement in itself when we got through them successfully, and so it made the whole thing seem less crazy, you know, the possibility of working for all those years and getting no scientific results out at the end. 

Of course luckily we did, and I think I would look at doing a degree over many years in a similar way.  There are lots of intermediate goals with individual modules that you have to pass to get your final degree, so each of those is a step, I mean it’s a bit like going to Titan.



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