I try to be involved in all aspects of Mars exploration, from theoretical studies of water on Mars to management of instrument projects. This is often a frustrating business, replete with cancelled missions, failed proposals, and the occasional catastrophic crash landing. I led a team that built a Mars instrument for the MECA (Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment) project only to have the mission cancelled, worked on a second winning proposal (MATADOR) only to have that mission cancelled, and have been involved in a few proposals that just didn't make it. While I wait for my ride to Mars, I work half time for the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission as an Investigation Scientist, a liaison between the Science Team and the Project folks that keep the spacecraft running. The rest of the time I split between instrument development and Mars science.
As a co-investigator on the proposed Phoenix mission, I am responsible for the Microscopy, Electrochemistry, and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA), a soil analysis instrument. Phoenix is one of four finalists for the 2007 opportunity. I was also the Deputy Principal Investigator on the CryoScout proposal to melt into the northern polar cap of Mars. CryoScout didn't make the first cut, but we're continuing to work towards another bid in a few years.
As an Investigation Scientist on the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission, I'm a liaison between the Odyssey project and the science teams for the Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS) and the Mars Radiation Experiment (MARIE).
I led a team that came up with original architecture for the Deep Space 2 "microprobes" that piggy-backed on the Mars Polar Lander mission. We turned the concept over to the New Millennium Program, who designed, built, and flew the probes as a test of the feasibility of littering the Martian surface with miniature landers.