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Nagin Cox
Flight System Engineer
NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers Project
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory


P2K: In terms of the qualities of mind, not super-ace work in math, but qualities of mind. What are the necessary qualities of mind to be part of a team like the Mars Exploration Rovers team or the Galileo team? What would you be looking for if you were hiring?

Nagin Cox: Many people end up with the basic skills that you need to be functional in the space program in terms of math and science. I think what sets people apart is their ability to interact with other people -because no mission is flown or built or tested by one person. It's a team and sometimes it's easy for engineers to lose sight of the fact that everybody has to talk to each other in order to make it work. So being able to communicate with other people and to respect other people who may not do exactly the same thing that you do on the mission is really important. That's what makes a great team. Then, above all, you can always tell the people who love their jobs. Not just the technical aspect of what they do, but love the job and love the context... those who look at a rover and go "that is really cool".

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