Likes/Dislikes About Career
There are a number of things I really like about this job. First, I get to learn new
things about the universe. It's really cool to solve a problem that nobody else in the
world has solved. Second, I get to participate in the exploration of the solar system. I
really believe that civilization is at a unique point in its history in that we are just
now developing the capability to explore - and ultimately visit - other worlds. Wow! What
could be more exciting than that? Third, I get to be my own boss. As a scientist it is my
job to figure out what to do and how to do it. Scientists are judged by their peers, not
by a traditional "boss." The only thing I really don't like about my job is the paperwork.
When you work for the government (NASA is a government agency) you have to deal with
paperwork. Sometimes it can take up your whole day.
I have been in this business now for almost 20 years. I was just starting my career
when the Viking mission, the last mission to Mars, was ending. Since then there have been
no successful missions to Mars. Both the former Soviet Union and the US have tried, but
neither was successful. It has been very frustrating during these past 20 years hoping
for new successful missions. But now, NASA is on the verge of launching a virtual armada
of spacecraft to Mars beginning in November 1996 and continuing well into the next century.
In addition, Russia is planning to launch a mission to Mars in 1996 and the Japanese in
1998. Mars has finally become a high-priority space exploration target and I am very
excited. This will be the best of times for me in my career since I now find myself
poised to be innundated with new data. Let's hope that all these missions are successful!
I am married with one grown daughter. She's in college now studying environmental
technology and ethics. My wife was a teacher but is now working in industry. My hobbies
include tennis, surfing, playing the guitar, riding motorcycles and telling fish stories.