The catch-phrase “never wait to wonder” is one that has dominated my science career over 28 years at NASA. For me, the wonders of scientific research began early, as a 3-year old on long walks in the New York state woodlands with mysterious outcrops that caught my young imagination. But it was also heightened by the Mars and the Viking Projects, which hooked me in spite of my passion for computing and algorithms. In my presentation, I will weave the story of how my passion for rocks and landscapes drove me to promote new remote sensing approaches for measuring their topologies and led to founding of the Mars Science Laboratory and its Curiosity Rover. The journey I will describe was influenced by compelling science leaders at NASA and in our science community, from Noel Hinners to Ed Weiler, and as far back as Tim Mutch and Jim Head and Richard Grieve.