What are your personal goals for the future?
Manage a Robotic Mission to the surface of another planet. Give my kids every opportunity to discover what it is that they love to do and want to be when then grow up.
What portion of this mission interests you the most?
Its a toss-up between the excitment and challenge of designing, building, and testing a piece of equipment (i.e., the Mars Exploration Rovers) like no other ... and the excitement of watching the rovers bring back images of Mars which have never been seen before by anyone.
What is the most fascinating thing about your mission?
How incredibly well the Mars Exploration Rover vehicles have performed given the extremely short amount of time we had to develop and build both spacecrafts and the good fortune we had landing in a crater with exposed bedrock (a geologists dream).
What's the most challenging part of your job?
Meeting the development schedule.
What’s the most extraordinary experience you've had so far on this mission?
Working with the most incredible team of dedicated and brilliant individuals I have ever known.
When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I think I probably wanted to be an architect.
When did you decide you wanted to be in the space industry and how did you go for it?
I started to become interested in the space industry during college while working in the area of robotics. I applied for a job at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory fresh out of graduate school and started shortly thereafter. As soon as I got to JPL, I began to realize just how exiting space exploration was and how brilliant the people who worked there were. When I got the opportunity to work on the Mars Pathfinder Mission, my first flight project, I realized that this was what I wanted to do from there on out.
Why do you think Mars Exploration is important?
It likely holds the keys to the existance of past life in the solar system.
What excites you about Mars or about space exploration?
The opportunity to discover new and miraculous things about the nature of the universe and to understand where we as humans fit into its overall vastness ... and ... the opportunity to apply our knowledge to overcome the enormous technical challenges that one faces when trying to unravel the infamous riddles of the universe.
Do you have any hobbies?
Woodworking (Furniture/cabinetry), Home Remodeling