Donna Shirley, an aerospace engineer and manager of NASA's Mars Exploration Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Marcia Neugebauer, a distinguished visiting scientist at JPL best known for her work in space physics, have been inducted into the Hall of Fame of Women In Technology International (WITI).
The JPL recipients were among 15 women to be inducted into WITI's Hall of Fame for their contributions in the fields of science and engineering and their advancement of women in these disciplines. They will be honored at a dinner banquet to be held June 5 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, during WITI's annual, three-day conference, which begins June 4.
Shirley, who became manager of the Mars Exploration Program Office in 1994, oversees NASA's decade-long program of robotic exploration of Mars, which began with the launch in 1996 of the Mars Pathfinder lander and rover and the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter. Before that, she oversaw the development of the Pathfinder rover known as Sojourner, which will land on Mars on July 4 and become the first rover ever to explore the surface of another planet.
With more than 30 years of experience in aerospace and civil engineering, Shirley joined JPL in 1966 as an aerodynamicist in JPL's former Engineering Mechanics Division. Over the years, she held progressively more responsible positions in systems analysis for flight projects, terrestrial applications of space technology and for the development of automation, robotics and mobile surface vehicles.
Among her accomplishments, Shirley served as leader of a 1979 advanced study to design an orbiter and probe to explore Saturn and its moon Titan. The study evolved into the Cassini mission, now scheduled for launch next Oct. 6.
Neugebauer, a distinguished visiting scientist at JPL, specializes in space physics and designing new instruments for space exploration to study the composition of the solar wind and comets. She was co-principal investigator on the plasma analyzer experiment onboard 1962's Mariner 2 spacecraft, which took the first clear measurements of the solar wind. She has also worked on instruments that have orbited Earth, that were set up on the Moon by the Apollo astronauts, and that flew by Halley's comet onboard the European Giotto spacecraft in 1986.
A past member of many NASA and National Academy of Sciences committees, Neugebauer most recently chaired the academy's Committee on Solar and Space Physics.
Founded in 1989, WITI has more than 6,000 members, 95 percent of whom are professional women working in organizations that produce or use technology products.
More information about the Hall of Fame award ceremony is available from event coordinator Julie Lubbering (818) 990-1987, or from the WITI web site at http://www.witi.com.
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