findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are
those of the developer, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE, and do not necessarily
reflect those of the National Science Foundation.
To MARS with MER - RESEARCH/ers
Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pete Theisinger is, in large, part where the "buck" stops on the Mars Exploration Rovers mission. As Project Manager, he's ultimately responsible to JPL and NASA HQ for the progress of the project, keeping on schedule, on budget and keeping the large numbers of people working on the project, at JPL and around the country, moving forward. And he's also the one who, in April 2003, had to decide if a potential electrical problem necessitated delaying the first launch for some time, to fix it. Pete was quoted as saying this could have been "mission catastrophic", which for this sober, sensible but 150% committed warrior, who speaks of his team as the "troops" with an "army" of family members behind them, was quite a statement.
P2K spoke with Pete several times during the development of the mission, in his office, driving down the 210 freeway to one of the periodic design reviews in his slick, new black pickup, and in the rover testbed facility. We appreciate his time, and insights... about the most precious thing he had to give! And we hope he always feels what he said to us back on September 26, 2001.
Pete Theisinger: "This is the best job in the world, right now. This is... You can't... it's impossible to describe how good it feels to work on something like this. The challenge is very high. The psychic return when it is successful will be extremely high. This is a major, highly visible, component to the nation's space program, doing something that the country has never done before, making another step forward in the exploration of Mars... I mean, it doesn't get better than this, it really doesn't. It's a joy to come to work."