To the Mars Exploration Community,
As I depart from the Program and NASA, after more than 20 years with Agency and nearly 9 years leading the Mars Exploration Program, I want to thank and congratulate you all on what we have accomplished. As I look back it has truly been a remarkable decade of achievements, advancements, discovery, community convergence, and world-wide notoriety. From engineer to scientist to manager, we pulled together through some tough times, kept the program, missions and research on track, replanned as challenges were thrown our way, capitalized on the incredible successes of Odyssey, Spirit & Opportunity, MRO, Phoenix, and of course MSL/Curiosity. We have changed science and changed the text books! This community has shown incredible poise, resilience, selflessness and togetherness, and incredible foresight. You have had the vision to look past challenging times and create a bright future for Mars and solar system exploration. Our recent accomplishments with Curiosity have brought Mars and solar system exploration into many people's daily lives for the first time, and we have touched the world with this incredible feat--and there's more to come! The adventure is just beginning!
While timing a retirement is always challenging, I leave encouraged and content--Curiosity safely on the surface doing incredible science (landing in a stream bed--what a start!), and a secure future for the Mars Exploration Program with a 2020 science rover mission after MAVEN and an ExoMars cooperation. In the interim, the Program is in good hands with Michael Meyer and Jim Green (acting Program Director). The Agency is well aware of the importance of Mars and will be actively pursuing a replacement.
I have been honored to work with, and lead, such an extraordinary and innovative community. My years working with you, and our accomplishments, are without doubt the highlight of my career! Keep moving forward, keep innovating, keep discovering!
On to Mars... Doug