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During college when I was doing my internships and also just researching what I wanted to
do after I graduated, I realized that I really wanted to work in a planetary science.
So I joined MSL about two years before launch, but I helped develop a lot of operations,
planning and software. I basically led the cruise, EDL portion of the planning and execution
of all of the commands we sent during that period.
Landing night felt like time kind of stood still. We'd mentally prepared ourselves to
expect anything but when we got that confirmation that we landed successfully and even got the
imagery down we couldn't believe it actually had happened.
Usually the science team helps kind of give us overall direction of what they want to
do. It's my job to kind of make sure that we do the best plan we can to get the most
science out keeping in mind that the rover is still safe.
While the rover is sleeping we have to send a set of commands to tell it what we want
the rover to do during the day and then we go home and rest while the rover is executing
that plan we just built. The rover transmits back what it did and how
it went. After looking at everything and making sure that the rover's healthy and that the
plan completed as we expected I go on to then lead the team in planning out what we're going
to do for the next day. My dad was an engineer and my family obviously
valued math and sciences and with those two things combined it definitely influenced me
to start a career in engineering.