Working on the Pathfinder team

Joy Crisp video
Joy Crisp audio

When I first came it was in 1987, working at JPL, and I worked on lava flows on the Earth and comparing them to lava flows on Mars, looking at Viking Orbiter pictures of the flows. I did that for several years and it got kind of frustrating after awhile that you could only do so much with that data set and then I really wanted new data sets to come down.

Then three years ago I started working on the Mars Pathfinder project and this was just so exciting--to work on something that was going to happen within a few years. Compared to other missions we've had at JPL that take years and years, and we planned and planned and those plans never, it seems like, never come to fruition and this was a chance to work on something that was underway and had a short timetable. But this was also difficult, it was very high pressure in a very short time we had to prepare all these things and test them and it was kind of scary, actually, behind the scenes to see all the ways this thing could go wrong.

I was really surprised the first day when the thing opened up and there was the rover and everything intact, I was amazed. I didn't think everything would work, the lander camera and everything was working and it still amazes me that everything worked and has now worked through sol 37.