What are your personal goals for the future?
I would like to do engineering overseas.
What are your dreams for the future of exploration?
I would like to see the day when the metals in near-Earth asteroids and the Helium-3 on the Moon are harvested for use on earth. I would also like to see more industrial use of zero gravity in Earth orbit. I think a base at the south pole of the Moon, with 24-hr access to sun, water, and radio silence would be a great place for a base.
What is the most fascinating thing about your mission?
The Mars Exploration Rovers are going to experience a totally alien world. Mars has pink skies, less gravity, and quiet. Consider the spectacular loneliness of these rovers - they will be the only things moving on the whole planet besides dust and wind, millions of miles from their creators.
What's the most challenging part of your job?
Structural anlaysis can be intellectually challenging. Outside of college, many problems have not been solved before and there are no answers at the end of the book. The better our engineers, the better our designs.
When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A firefighter. It's heroic but I think there would be too much waiting.
When did you decide you wanted to be in the space industry and how did you go for it?
I decided in seventh grade. I went to the library and researched the universities with the best aerospace engineering degrees and their entrance requirements.
Do you work on any other projects at your company?
I also work on an experiment that will attempt to discover more of the rules of fundamental physics. Scientists do not yet understand the origin of the fundamental laws of nature.
Describe the human side of robotic exploration.
Using a robotic rover to explore Mars is not less human than wearing a pair of glasses to explore your room. The data are still interpreted by that irreplaceable thing, the human.
Do you have any hobbies?
I like to connect with God and people at church, especially Bible studies.