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Steve Wall
Advanced Projects Design Team Leader
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

What I Do

I do a variety of things, all of which are connected with research on space missions. Much of my time is spent leading a team of engineers and scientists called the Advanced Projects Design Team. (At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where I work, this team is nicknamed "Team X.") Our team looks at good ideas for missions that can come from almost anywhere. We decide how much they might cost, what kind of launch they would need, how long they would take to build, and stuff like that so that the person who had the idea has the details he or she needs to get the idea approved. Right now we are working on a new mission to return samples from the surface of Mars to help answer the questions about past life on Mars.

I also am a member of the science team for the Cassini Radar Investigation. This team is building a special camera that will go to one of Saturn's moons called Titan and take pictures through the clouds to tell us what Titan's surface is like. We know that Titan has some of the same chemicals that make up living things here on Earth, so knowing about it will tell us more about how life starts out. Another thing I do is to work on new ways that will help us to do more space missions with less money here at JPL. I'm excited to think that we might be able to explore more new worlds with our new ways.

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