“I honestly feel that we will have a person standing on the surface of Mars at some point in time, because there is something that is innate in human beings…that need to explore.”—Kobie Boykins
Few events in the last decade of space exploration have captured the world’s imagination like NASA’s ongoing Mars Exploration Program. In 2004, the successful deployment of the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, launched a new era of scientific investigation of our nearest planetary neighbor. For Kobie Boykins, a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the rovers’ success was also a personal triumph: he helped design and build the solar arrays that enabled to rovers to keep going long after their planned 90-day life (indeed Opportunity is still roaming Mars today and sending back images, more than nine years later).
Now, Boykins is also intimately involved with our latest venture to Mars, as supervisor of the mobility and remote sensing mast teams for the Mars Science Laboratory, better known as Curiosity. Curiosity landed on Mars in August 2012 and has already made headlines with evidence that conditions on Mars, including the presence of water, once could have supported life. For work on this and other compelling projects, Boykins last year received a NASA Exceptional Service Medal, one of the highest honors given to NASA employees and contractors.
Boykins’ boundless enthusiasm for unraveling the mysteries of outer space, and Mars in particular, is infectious. Join him for an engaging evening exploring the red planet, with an update on the very latest chapter in the ongoing story of Mars exploration.