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.
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE - To MARS with MER
"To MARS with MER"
The human stories are key: some of the variety of people you'll meet include:
Jennifer Trosper, MIT graduate and Flight Director for Pathfinder's first day on Mars: an avid volleyball player and Christian missionary to the Former Soviet Union and Central America, she's now Project System Engineer for MER, responsible for everything from hardware and software to mission assurance.
Cornell astronomer Steve Squyres is the "ATHENA" Principal Investigator, in charge of the most powerful suite of science instruments ever flown to the planets. He's an energetic outdoorsman who's explored the Dry Valleys of Antarctica, but he's equally at home in the highest level meetings of the NASA Advisory Council.
Project Scientist Joy Crisp, along with Steve, has shaped the science mission which ultimately justifies all the time and money being spent on MER. Joy has explored Earth's volcanoes to see how their rocks reveal our planet's history. Now she's sending robot geologists to Mars, so their instruments can extend human eyes and understanding to the planets.
Shonte Wright is one of the "Cog-E"s (Cognizant Engineers) for the thermal systems: participating in a "Mass Tribal Council", she must demonstrate that every last gram of her sub-system is necessary. She's also a volunteer advisor to youngsters competing in robotic competitions, and takes time to talk about science and engineering with youngsters in underserved communities.
Wayne Lee, author of a popular primer on spaceflight, "To Rise from Earth," dresses his young son in NASA pajamas; he's a true believer in the value of exploring the solar system. Stranded in Atlanta by the events of 9/11, he returned to encourage his Entry, Descent and Landing team to make up for the days lost in grief and confusion by thinking of themselves as soldiers in a peaceful battle that would eventually enhance America's standing and reputation.