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Rob Manning
Entry, Descent and Landing Operations Manager
Mars Exploration Rovers mission
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Two years later, JPL's Voyager spacecraft began returning fantastic images of Jupiter and her entourage. Even the busy problem-solvers at Caltech peeked up from their work and smiled in delight. It was a heady time to be an engineering student! Later that year JPL graciously offered me a part-time position as a draftsman of the Galileo spacecraft schematics and I found myself inside the very picture I had envied a more than a decade earlier - I had finally graduated!

My first decade at JPL revolved around spacecraft computers and advanced computer architectures. It was fascinating work, but technologically a long way from computers as intelligent as "HAL" from "2001: A Space Odyssey." I went on to be the lead engineer for the computers used on the Cassini spacecraft. Later I found that designing "fault protection" would be a lot of fun and spent two interesting years thinking about how to make Cassini diagnose failures and repair itself during its long lonely voyage to Saturn.

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