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Pete Theisinger
Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

"Driving to the Review Board, October 2001"

In "To MARS with MER" we tried to capture candid, off the cuff moments with key mission members, to get closer to the process than is sometimes possible in sit-down interviews in offices. These comments were recorded as Pete Theisinger navigated through busy, morning rush-hour traffic on the 210 freeway that passes JPL en route to Los Angeles and points east. It was during this drive that we first heard some of Pete's Rules, pithy and pragmatic sayings that help mission members keep a perspective on the hectic pace of a project like the Mars Exploration Rovers mission.

"I have a phrase I have used with others which is 'Nothing is either...'- Pete's Rule, there is one of several, I never discriminate -'...nothing is either as bad or as good as it looks.' "

P2K: So, Pete, where are we off to???

Pete Theisinger: We're off to the Mission System Critical Design Review, ah, and we are holding it in Arcadia. It's about 25 minutes from the Lab. We go to a hotel there because they have large conference facilities. We expect there'll be about hundred, hundred and fifty people in attendance at the Review. It's not a Project-level Review, meaning that the entire project is not being reviewed, but it is a review of the design of one of the major systems, the Mission system, which comprises mainly the operations plan for the rovers, and then what do we have to do in terms of teams, and software and tools, in order to operate the rovers on the surface.

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