This is tough! Ultimately its worth it. I started out in Physics and moved over to Aerospace, but I love both. Science is really about the pursuit of knowledge so you have to be patient, but understanding how the world works is so amazing - you gain an appreciation for so many things. As for engineering, the rewards are different; you get smaller challenges and results along the way. As for me, I ended up in engineering because its typically more of a collaborative effort, trying to accomplish things that weve never done before.
Id love to continue with more challenging missions in the future, to improve both our technical ability to accomplish missions and expand our understanding of Earths place in the universe. On a more personal level, I hope we continue our ground-level exploration of our solar system.
Beyond continuing our exploration of Mars, which were making good progress in, but MSL will not be able to complete, I want to work towards a future of expanded human exploration beyond low earth orbit. For robotics, I am looking forward to missions to Venus, Europa and Titan.
Its twofold. The engineer in me is very excited about our ability to land larger missions and eventually people on Mars. The scientist is looking forward to understanding Martian history and what that means for Earth! Were going to learn so much about whether Mars was (or is!) ever habitable, which will help us better understand the potential for life-bearing planets throughout the universe.
If its not this team of people, we have so many cool things about the mission, from the new landing system to our incredible science suite that should allow us to do a lot of the science that geologists do on Earth!
Its a mix of technical challenges and sometimes process! As engineers sometime we like to keep moving on to the next engineering challenge, but we have to be diligent and make sure everything is documented so that people can follow our decisions and pick up if needed.