Charles Whetsel
Spacecraft Systems Engineer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California


After finishing school in Boston, I began work at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where I have worked since then. My wife Anne and I live in Pasadena with our two cats. We met while we were both in school in Boston and have been married for four years. She works as a management consultant, helping people figure out what their companies should be planning to do in the future. Anne and I enjoy biking and running together (although I cannot run as far as she wishes I could). We also enjoy eating out at restaurants together (which is the main reason why I can't run so far!).

I am very excited about the upcoming launch of our spacecraft to Mars. I am very anxious to start this mission and get our spacecraft safely into orbit at Mars, where it can begin returning its valuable scientific data. My first job after graduating from college was working on the Mars Observer spacecraft. We were very disappointed when we lost contact with that spacecraft in 1992. In many ways, I feel like with the Mars Global Surveyor project, we are being given a second chance to return to Mars, since we are carrying many of the same scientific instruments that Mars Observer carried when it was lost. We feel confident that we understand what went wrong with Mars Observer, and have done everything possible to avoid any further problems, but we all must appreciate that an endeavor as difficult as spaceflight is not without its risks.

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