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Name: Adam Steltzner

Job Title: Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) Lead Mechanical Engineer for the Mars Exploration Rovers mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Hometown: Sausalito, CA

     • Ph.D.University of Wisconsin, Madison
     • M.S. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
     • B.S. University of California, Davis

Role Models:

Adam is inspired by James Burke, Dara Sabahi (JPL engineer), Bob Micheltree (JPL engineer), Allen Steltzner, Mohandas Gandhi, and Abraham Lincoln.

Outside Interests:

When he's not working on the Mars Exploration Rovers mission, Adam enjoys mountain biking, hiking, trail running, desert expeditions and 4X4 off-road vehicles.

How he became interested in his profession:

"I was playing rock and roll in the San Francisco bay area and noticed that the stars changed positions between the start of a gig and the drive home. I had never been much of a student in high school, so I decided to take an astronomy course at the local community college...and fell in love with the idea that I lived in a knowable universe. I decided to go forward and learn all that I could about this universe that I had just discovered.

"A decade later, [I] had a Ph.D. and was working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, exploring and expanding the edges of our human knowledge. Pretty cool!"

What he likes about his field of work:

"I like to learn. I like to be intellectually challenged and am an explorer at heart. My job allows me all three."

Adam is proud of his role in the Mars Exploration Rovers mission as the Lead Mechanical Engineer for EDL. "It's certainly been the high point of my career...working on this essential phase of the mission."