For those of us who stayed up late last night to watch the streaming coverage of the Curiosity rover's landing on Mars, it was a treat to see the huge numbers of MacBooks, iPads, and even iPhones that were in the control room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The image above shows one of the EDL Ops (Entry, Descent and Landing Operations) engineers gazing intently at the screen of a MacBook Pro at incoming data. Other photos we've seen show a conference room full of engineers and scientists at JPL sitting around a table loaded with MacBook Pros with nary a Lenovo or Dell laptop in sight.
Why the love of Macs? It's probably because OS X is the "Unix that works," the mainstream operating system that's built upon the BSD UNIX beloved by scientists and engineers (and is also certified by the Single UNIX Specification group as an Open Brand UNIX 03 product). Of course, the scientific and engineering community may not be thrilled with the recent shift away from bundling Apple-branded X11 with OS X in Mountain Lion, as that's often used to run legacy apps. The current X11 solution is the XQuartz open source project, which is heavily supported by Apple.
Be sure to check back later; TUAW's Mel Martin is following up with a post about more reasons for all of this Apple love at JPL.
[h/t Jeff Gamet]