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   Charles Baker

What advice can you offer to young scientists or engineers?

There is no goal that is ever out of reach. With a spirit of determination and commitment, every dream is possible. Set the highest goals possible for yourself early in your career and beyond and work hard to achieve them. Choosing an excellent college that provides the best schools of engineering is a plus.

What are your personal goals for the future?

Pursue continuing education in planetary science to achieve a balance of engineering and science knowledge and skills. Someday becoming the Mission Manager of one of the next Mars missions and someday being able to contribute to sending humans to Mars.

What are your dreams for the future of exploration?

For humans to set foot on Mars to discover the answer to the fundamental question about whether life exists in places other than our home planet. The technological advancements that will result form this endeavor will fundamentally change the way we live in the same way as the Apollo era has. It is well worth the effort and the cost!

What portion of this mission interests you the most?

The Entry, Descent and Landing process. Autonomously landing a spacecraft on the surface of another planet is the most challenging and fascinating part of a mission.

What is the most fascinating thing about your mission?

For MSL, it is the entry, descent and landing process. This is the first time we will be able to land a large and heavy rover on the surface of Mars with an innovative system that will pave the way for future missions of even greater complexity like a Mars sample return mission.

Why do you think Mars Exploration is important?

Mars features some very unique conditions that show that it may have harbored life in its past. Being able to answer the question “Does life exist on Mars"? will answer many questions about how life started on Earth and even throughout the Universe.

Do you have any hobbies?

I am an amateur astronomer. I use a 10" LXD75 Meade newtonian refractor telescope and image process my observations. I also indulge in solar observations using a Coronado SolarMax 40mm solar telescope. I also enjoy spending time with my family and BMW motorcycle riding.

Charles Baker:
  Background Information
  Contributions to Mars Exploration
  Personal Reflections