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Kobie Boykins

NASA Engineer

A dynamic young engineer at NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Kobie Boykins is on the front line of Mars exploration. Boykins designed the solar arrays that power the Mars exploration rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Landing on Mars on January 25, 2004, Opportunity was designed to survive a mission lasting approximately 90 days. Remarkably, the rover continues to traverse the surface of Mars to this day, sending back valuable scientific data.


Most recently, Boykins was responsible for the design of actuators on Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory, which safely landed on Mars on August 6, 2012.


Boykins’ other projects have included work on the Mars Pathfinder mission and the Ocean Surface Topography Mission, making measurements by satellite of the Earth’s oceans.


In 2002, Boykins joined a team of young scientists for a public education tour—dubbed “Marsapalooza”—to raise awareness of the Mars Exploration Project. Four years later he was featured in the JASONProject Expedition “Mysteries of Earth and Mars,” bringing his passion for space exploration to students and teachers worldwide. An engaging public speaker who puts a fresh face on America’s space program, Boykins recounts the challenges and triumphs of the Mars exploration rover missions, sharing remarkable images and discoveries that continue to come to us from the Red Planet.

Highlights & Accomplishments
Boykins designed the solar arrays that powered the first two Mars rovers, "Spirit" and "Opportunity," which outlived their projected life by a factor of more than 20.
Boykins was an educator for Dr. Robert Ballard's widely-acclaimed JASON project.
A veteran of Mars research and exploration, Boykins' work goes back to the Mars Pathfinder mission of 1997.
Follow Kobie Boykins:
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Cooties Video Poster


We Could Give Mars Our "Cooties"
What if a single hair on your head, the oils on your fingertips, or one of the thousands of droplets of saliva you expel each time you cough had the potential to jeopardize a multibillion-dollar interplanetary mission?
Curious Life Video Poster


Curious Life of a Mars Rover
Having helped design the Mars rovers Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity, NASA engineer Kobie Boykins reveals what these robots are telling us about the existence of life on the red planet.
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Best Job Ever
Kobie Boykins builds space robots for a living.

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