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To MARS with MER - RESEARCH/ers

Kobie Boykins
Mechanical Engineering section
NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, California

Hobbies as launching pads for a career in engineering
I did a lot of things when I was a kid. I had this terrible hobby of pulling apart everything that we owned that was electronic. If Mom bought an electronic game, a battery operated game, I'd pull it apart and try to see how it worked. I was always building LEGO structures, rovers and vehicles and spacecraft, or things that. I didn't know what they were, but they looked cool to me, and when we got Atari, and a television, Colecovision, those kinds of things, I took them apart to see what was going on in there.

I did a lot of dismantling of electronics, dismantling of different things and then I was a "Star Trek" freak, and a "Star Wars" freak, and I always looked at the stars. I grew up in Nebraska, of all places, and you could really see the stars there. The first night I went out, and I realized that the white creamy stuff in the sky wasn't clouds, but the actual Milky Way, I got really interested in that, and started doing research on stars, and things like that. All that stuff culminated in me wanting to work as an engineer for NASA, building space vehicles. When I was a kid I wanted to build the Enterprise, I wanted to build the first interplanetary vehicle. I thought that would be the coolest thing in the world, and I'm getting really close. I mean I'm sending a rover to Mars, and it's just a matter of time...

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