Sunday, March 16, 2008

Women drivers on Mars!

On Feb. 22, we held an all-female uplink team for the Spirit rover! Yay! The rover science and engineering teams have a substantial number of women on them, and uplink teams have been nearly all female just by chance a good number of times, but when our only current female Mission Manager, Cindy, decided to move on to MSL, Ashley (that's her in the photo, wearing a 9-blue-diamond necklace at the Smithsonian) coordinated a true all-women uplink day. And I got to be the Science team chair! What a fantastic experience. It was so interesting to me that having all women didn't really make a difference at all to planning the day. We're all just good at our jobs and get things done! However, both rovers planned nearly identical sols and Spirit was done well before Opportunity ;) And i love being part of a team that can make history for something that we on the rover team now take for granted - that everyone brings knowledge, enthusiasm, and experience to operating these rovers - regardless of gender.

Several places wrote good stories about this cool day:
Science@NASA, which is done at MSFC so is pretty me-centric
Emily at the Planetary Society blog wrote a terrific piece with a personal and enthusiastic slant
The Planetary Society Mars Rover Update also captured the event (scroll down!)

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