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Pete Theisinger
Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

"September 2001"

P2K: What kinds of things do you do to make the morale stay high???

Pete Theisinger: Oh, we are actually trying hard to think of ways to do that. We are putting out lithos of the Project, and Project buttons we are going to distribute widely. We've got a Project poster that we want to distribute specifically to the people that work on the Mars Exploration Rovers mission. We do organize little pizza parties periodically: we had one after the Critical Design Review to say thank you to everybody that helps... but it is... we're going to have a project picnic in October, but it is a struggle to keep the spirits up at the same time when everyone is working so hard.

The one part of the equation that I've gotta say is... we... these people are working very hard, but there's a tremendous army behind them in terms of their family and their spouses and their children and their significant others, and the rest of the people in their lives. And those people have to make sacrifices too. You know, there are soccer games, not gone to, there's vacations not taken, there's kids not taken to the doctor that other people have to pick up the load, and the project tries to say thank you to those people but it is very, very hard to do that very effectively. But we've got to keep track of the fact that behind every hard working engineer there's a support structure for them. And that support section has a lot to do with their success.

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