Mars Program Independent Assessment Team Begins Work

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, January 7, 2000

Douglas Isbell
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-1547)

Elvia Thompson
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-1696)



Sixteen experienced engineers, scientists and executives have been named by NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin to form the Mars Program Independent Assessment Team. The team is holding its initial organizational meeting today at NASA Headquarters.

Chaired by Thomas Young, retired executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Corp., this team has been chartered to review the agency's approach to robotic exploration of Mars in the wake of the recent loss of the Mars Polar Lander mission.

The team's participants are:

  • James Arnold, Deputy Director, Aerospace Directorate, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA
  • Thomas Brackey, Executive Director for Technical Operations, Hughes Space and Communications Co., Los Angeles, CA
  • Michael Carr, planetary geologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA
  • Douglas Dwoyer, Associate Director for Research and Technology Competencies, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA
  • Gen. Ronald Fogelman, U.S. Air Force (retired)
  • Maj. Gen. Ralph Jacobsen, U.S. Air Force (retired) and president emeritus of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory
  • Herb Kottler, Associate Director, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA
  • Peter Lyman, consultant, Pasadena, CA
  • Joanne Maguire, Vice President for Group Development, TRW Space & Technology Group, Redondo Beach, CA
  • Robert Pattishall, Director of Advanced Systems and Technology, National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, VA
  • Larry Soderblom, planetary scientist, U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZ
  • Peter Staudhammer, Vice President for Science and Technology, TRW Inc., Cleveland, OH
  • Kathy Thornton, Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and retired NASA astronaut
  • Peter Wilhelm, Director of the Naval Center for Space Technology, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC
  • Brian Williams, Assistant Professor, MIT Space Systems Laboratory, Cambridge, MA
  • Maria Zuber, Professor of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, MIT

The team will evaluate several recent successful and unsuccessful NASA missions to deep space, including Mars Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Climate Orbiter, Mars Polar Lander, Deep Space 1 and Deep Space 2. It will analyze the budgets, content, schedule, management structure and scientific organization of these missions. It will then assess how these roles and responsibilities are related to mission safety, reliability and success.

It will also review proposed revisions to NASA's existing Mars exploration program architecture as options are developed by a group at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.

The team will brief the NASA administrator on their findings by mid-March 2000.

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