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Event Details

January 23, 2014
7 p.m.
Wright State University, Apollo Room

Scott Lever, mission manager for NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Mission and a Fairmont East High School graduate, will return to the Dayton area Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. at Wright State University’s Apollo Room.

Lever will discuss the accomplishments and challenges experienced by both Spirit and Opportunity, Opportunity’s recent seasons on Mars, and spectacular 3D images captured there. He will also share stories from a 25-year career with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

He joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1984 and has participated in several flight projects, including Voyager, TOPEX/Poseidon, Cassini, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

The first MER rover landed on the flat plain of Mars, Meridiani Planum, shortly after midnight EST on Jan. 25, 2004. The rovers were scheduled to work for 90 Mars days, and Lever originally believed his tenure with the project would last approximately one year to 18 months. The ardent proponent of STEM education will explain to students how, 10 years later, he is still working on the same mission.

Lever joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1984 as a member of the Voyager project team working with the Computer Command Subsystem group. He now leads the MER Mission Planning Team and the MER Endeavour Strategic Planning Team. Lever usually works with ground software development and maintenance (command sequence simulation and flight rules) or with flight operations.

He attended the United States Naval Academy and California State University at Los Angeles and holds a master’s degree in computer science from Azusa Pacific University.

The MER mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federally funded research and development facility managed by the California Institute of Technology for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).