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).
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 2012 and has 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 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.