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Photo of Andy Collins
   Andy Collins
   Group Supervisor
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, California
United States Of America
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High School: Haverford Township Sr High School, Havertown,  PA
Bachelor of Science, Physics, Principia College

Background Information
As a teenager, I developed a strong interest in our nation's very young program to explore the planets and frequently wrote to JPL to obtain information about these early programs. After obtaining my bachelors degree in physics at Principia College, I was fortunate to be hired by JPL to work on the Mariner Mars '69 program, which had already launched two spacecraft toward Mars. During the summer of '69, I took part in spacecraft operations as they flew past Mars and subsequently I worked for approx. 2 years in the computer processing and analysis of the approx. 200 images. I then worked to develop early for the imaging science investigation on what subsequently became the Voyager program to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. For ~10 I worked almost full-time on Voyager as a member of the Imaging Science Team. It was a constant challenge and great privilege to make the best scientific use of that remarkable opportunity. In recent years, I have worked with others to develop high performance CCDs (Charged-Coupled Devices) for a variety of missions. My particular "pet" projects are those which utilize CCDs to detect x-rays. Such CCDs have played and will continue to play important roles in astrophysics mission such as Chandra and in future missions that will land on planetary surfaces and analyze the rocks and soils on those surfaces.

Contributions to Mars Exploration

Our group was responsible for designing, building, testing, qualifying and delivering the charge-coupled devices (CCDs). CCDs are imaging detectors ("electronic film"), which are used in each of the nine cameras that are on each of the two rovers, as well as the single descent imager that is mounted on the descent vehicles which deliver each rover to the surface of Mars. [more contributions ...]
Personal Reflections

Born from the failures of two earlier Mars missions (Mars Polar Lander and Mars Climate Orbiter), MER has turned out to be anything but a less ambitious, less aggressive program. Landing two spacecraft on Mars and operating them to do important science is an enormous, ground breaking challenge. [more personal reflections ...]