Tim Schofield
Planetary Scientist, Mars Pathfinder
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

My Family and I

I am 44 and married with three children. I have a daughter in 11th grade and sons in 8th and 5th grades. My two oldest children were born in England, but my youngest was born here and is therefore an American. In the first few weeks after Mars Pathfinder landed my family got to see me a lot on TV. They are still laughing!

The Future

In the near future I will study the data that have come back from our Mars Pathfinder instrument. As Pathfinder work comes to an end, I plan to move over more to the Mars 98 Orbiter project which I have been working on at a low level for the last few years. We have rebuilt the instrument that blew up on Mars Observer and it should be launched on the Mars 98 spacecraft in December 1998. Hopefully it will get there safely this time, and map the atmosphere of Mars for many years. I plan to study that data to try and understand how the atmosphere of Mars works.


Mars Pathfinder was an exciting project to be in, but behind all the fireworks on July 4 was a team of 200 people who had worked very hard on all the details for three or four years. If you want to become part of something like that, it means a lot of work getting training as an engineer or a scientist. On the downside, the work is always too hard and too difficult, but on the upside it is always interesting, you are never bored, and the end result is really worthwhile. If you are lucky, you may play a part in something like Mars Pathfinder.

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