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Photo of Michael Mangano
   Michael Mangano

What advice can you offer to young scientists or engineers?

Find something that interests you and stick to it.

What are your personal goals for the future?

Continue to explore the solar system with JPL assignments and eventually retire early to enjoy my family and their future families.

What are your dreams for the future of exploration?

Interactive (hands-on) control of exploration assets. Where do you want to go today? Mars, Jupiter? Sit down at your computer and have at it.

What portion of this mission interests you the most?

The incredible mechanical complexity. The rovers deploy like mechanical butterflies exiting a cocoon.

What is the most fascinating thing about your mission?

The landing event is breathtaking. Hold on for a 30 minute plunge to the surface... follow the bouncing ball.

What's the most challenging part of your job?

Meeting the incredible schedule. Concept to launch in less than 3 years.

What is unique about your job?

This is the most mechanically complex spacecraft that JPL has ever designed, built, tested and launched. I have had nearly two hundred engineers and designers working on this project at it's peak (about 1/3 the total project workforce).

What’s the most extraordinary experience you've had so far on this mission?

I'll have to look back at it and see, right now we're too busy!

When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A Park Ranger, a veterinarian among others. Eventually I turned to engineering.

When did you decide you wanted to be in the space industry and how did you go for it?

I grew up as a Trekkie, the original (Kirk, Spock, McCoy). I decided in high school that I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. I took a slight detour with a Civil Engineering degree but arrived at JPL a year after college graduation.

Why do you think Mars Exploration is important?

We are looking for the possibility that life exists or that the conditions for life exist in other parts of the solar system.

What excites you about Mars or about space exploration?

The environments are unforgiving. It is a challenge to design and build something that will survive in these conditions.

Do you have any hobbies?

Woodworking, Fishing, Scouting (with the boys)

Michael Mangano:
  Background Information
  Contributions to Mars Exploration
  Personal Reflections