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Photo of Joseph Guinn
   Joseph Guinn

What are your dreams for the future of exploration?

Mars sample return. We must first accomplish return of Mars soil samples before we can seriously expect the public to fund sending and returning humans. Let's do this soon.

What portion of this mission interests you the most?

The excitement of landing day. This is still very difficult and requires significant planning, testing and a little luck.

What's the most challenging part of your job?

Juggling several missions. At anytime there are missions in different phases: operations, development and proposal stages. Keeping track of the issues of each can be challenging.

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

I grew up in Houston, near the Johnson Space Center; so, of course I wanted to be an astronaut.

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

When I was a Freshman in college. I entered college to pursue electrical engineering. After getting a work/study job in the aerospace engineering department, I changed my mind. In a way it was just luck or fate.

Do you work on any other projects at your company?

My original area of expertise at JPL was with Earth orbiters. Precision orbit reconstruction using GPS (Global Positioning System) and I developed an autonomous onboard navigation system that was flight demonstrated on a mission called EO-1 (Earth Orbiter 1). I now supervise a group called the Inner Planet Navigation group. The group has 18 engineers who primarily support Mars missions, with a few of the them supporting Earth orbiters.

Do you have any hobbies?

Videography. I produced a video on the Mars Odyssey navigation team activities leading to a successful Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI).

Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?

This is a dream job. How did I get so lucky?

Joseph Guinn:
  Background Information
  Contributions to Mars Exploration
  Personal Reflections