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Robert T. Mitchell

Robert Mitchell Robert Mitchell is program manager for the Cassini-Huygens mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Mitchell has managed an exceptional team of individuals who operate the Cassini spacecraft, which had a flawless, nearly seven-year flight, culminating in a dramatic arrival at Saturn on June 30, 2004. Since then, Cassini has discovered several moons, a new ring and recently sent back stunning images of the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

Mitchell, who was born in Springville, Pennsylvania, graduated from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and holds two masters degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics. Since joining JPL in 1965, he has worked on trajectory design, mission design, and navigation for planetary exploration projects such as Mariner '67, Mariner '69, Mariner '71, the Viking mission to Mars, and Galileo.

As the Galileo mission design manager from 1979 to 1988, Mitchell led the development of numerous redesigns of the mission. He led the NASA-honored team that developed the innovative Venus Earth-Earth Gravity Assist (VEEGA) trajectory to give the spacecraft the velocity boost it needed to reach Jupiter. Mitchell also received NASA Exceptional Achievement Awards for his work on Viking navigation and Galileo mission design. From 1988 to 1993, Mitchell managed JPL's mission design section, and served as manager of the Galileo science and sequence office from 1993 through 1996.

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Dr. Laurence A. Soderblom

Dr. Larry Soderblom Laurence A. Soderblom is a geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey who has been actively involved in Mariner 6, 7 and 9, Viking, Voyager, Magellan, Galileo, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Pathfinder and Deep Space 1, Cassini, and Mars Exploration Rover missions. During 1978 to 1983 and again 1994 to 1996, he served as chief of the USGS Branch of Astrogeology. He attended New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, receiving bachelor's degrees in both geology and physics, and the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, where he received a Ph.D. in planetary science and geophysics. Soderblom has been engaged in a broad collection of planetary research tasks including theoretical modeling of planetary surface processes, ground-based and spacecraft instrument development, and observations and determination of the timescales and chronological evolution of the surfaces of the terrestrial planets. He has actively been involved in development of advanced technology instrumentation and in promoting advanced technology for future planetary exploration missions. As an example, he served as team leader for the Miniature Camera-Spectrometer aboard New Millennium Deep Space One. Currently he is an interdisciplinary scientist and a team member of three experiments on the NASA-ESA Cassini-Huygens mission (the visible and infrared mapping spectrometer, the radar, and the descent imager spectral radiometer) and a science team member on the Mars Exploration Rover mission.

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Dr. Tobias C. Owen

Dr. Tobias Owen Cassini co-investigator Dr. Tobias C. Owen studies the origin and composition of planetary atmospheres and comets. An alumnus of the University of Chicago and professor of astronomy at the University of Hawaii, Owen uses ground-based telescopes and spectrometers as well as remote sensing and in situ instruments on spacecraft. He was a member of the lander molecular analysis team on NASA's Viking Mission to Mars from 1969 to 1978. He also worked on NASA's Galileo mission to Jupiter before joining Cassini as an interdisciplinary scientist and member of several instrument teams for the Cassini-Huygens mission. Owen was the American team leader for the ESA-NASA study that developed the Cassini-Huygens mission. A recipient of the NASA honor medal for exceptional scientific achievement, Owen has conducted published research on a number of topics including atmospheric studies of Venus and comets. He has also participated in international space efforts with Europe and Japan.

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