Pete Theisinger, project manager for both the Mars Exploration Rovers and the Mars Science Laboratory, talks about Curiosity, NASA’s most advanced mobile robotic laboratory, which landed on Mars in August, 2012. Credit: (NASA/Paul E. Alers)

CuriousMars: Opportunity’s First Project Manager Hails Longevity

By Craig Covault and A.J.S. Rayl
Posted January 24, 2013 5:04 PM

The NASA Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is beginning its 10th year roving Mars, completing nine years of “shocking” performance and historic discoveries that began with a bouncing airbag roll into tiny Eagle crater on Jan. 24, 2004.

“It’s amazing, we never expected these kind of results!”, says Pete Theisinger, the original MER project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Calif. He also led JPL’s Curiosity rover development in the same role.

There is no manager at JPL more measured and soft spoken than Pete Theisinger, but during only 20 minutes of discussing the nine years of Opportunity’s engineering achievements, Pete was effusive.

Four times he evoked the word “very”, twice using each of the adjectives “shocking”, “amazing” and “remarkable”, with “wondrous” and “neat” thrown in to boot!

Blessed with unexpected Martian bedrock barely feet away, it took just over a month for Opportunity’s science team to make the paramount discovery that potentially life sustaining water had once existed on the Meridiani plains of Mars.

Read more: CuriousMars: Opportunity's First Project Manager Hails Longevity – SpaceRef.

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