EMAGENIT has had a 20 + year relationship with NASA starting in the mid 90's. Over the years, EMAGENIT's founder David Hooper has taught Excel VBA courses for:
We have also trained individual NASA personnel in our public courses from NASA JPL, NASA Goddard, NASA Michoud and NASA Johnson Space Flight center.
NASA JPL approached EMAGENIT with the following engineering problem: Develop a conceptual design environment in Microsoft Excel VBA for Windows and Excel VBA for Mac that would allow various NASA JPL programs written for the Mars Rover in C to have a better more flexible user interface and also be able to communicate with each other passing design information. These programs acting in unison along with the EMAGENIT Excel VBA interface were to allow NASA JPL to rapidly simulate, early in the conceptual design process, the power usage of future Mars rovers and the rover’s mission profile for each day. It was called the Mission Scenario Design Workbench.
Using a combination of Microsoft Excel, Visual Basic for Applications, C, Pearl Script, Unix Script and Apple Script among other things, EMAGENIT and its associated JPL team were able to develop an integrated design environment in Microsoft Excel that allows JPL mission planners to rapidly simulate a conceptual Mars missions for future rovers. As you noticed from the list just presented, everything used in the program was “off the shelf” allowing it to be developed and tested rapidly. Most important, the program was designed to run in both Excel for Mac and Excel for Windows.
Simple, Microsoft Excel's unmatched versatility. Microsoft Excel in combination with Visual Basic for Applications has the capability to create dedicated applications that rival programs written in stand alone languages like C and Visual Basic. The strength’s of using Excel are everybody already knows how to use it; Excel’s environment provides a set of tools that allows sophisticated interfaces to be developed and rapidly tested; Excel has the unique capability to communicate with multiple data sources and computer languages at once; and a base line program can be rapidly upgraded in a short amount of time. Most of all, since Excel and its functionalities are pre-built; project development time and cost are substantially reduced. The JPL project just mentioned went from conception to finished product in about 4 ½ months.
Opportunity, launched in 2003, is still going strong on the red planet. You can catch up with what it has been up to here.
Overview: NASA's twin robot geologists, the Mars Exploration Rovers, launched toward Mars on June 10 and July 7, 2003, in search of answers about the history of water on Mars. They landed on Mars January 3 and January 24 PST, 2004 (January 4 and January 25 UTC, 2004). The Mars Exploration Rover mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet (Source: NASA).
Curiosity, launched in 2011, is the newest rover to land on the red planet and has been zooming around making some awesome discoveries. You can read about it here.
Overview: With its rover named Curiosity, Mars Science Laboratory mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. Curiosity was designed to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbes. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet's "habitability." (Source: NASA)