Global Color Views of Mars

Charles Whetsel has been named chief engineer of the Mars Program, a position he has held in an acting capacity since February.

As chief engineer, Whetsel will lead the technical development of all current and future Mars missions. Along with other members of the Mars Program staff, he will identify promising mission architectures and technologies, while resolving technical issues affecting multiple projects within the existing Mars Program. He will also lead the Mars Program Systems Engineering Team, comprised of senior engineers from across NASA and other key international space agencies participating in the cooperative exploration of Mars.

At JPL since 1989, Whetsel has worked on a variety of missions, including Cassini, Mars Observer and the Mars Global Surveyor. He was also the orbiter payload manager for the Mars Sample Return Study, a position he left in 1999 to become manager of the Flight Systems Engineering and Test Section.

Whetsel received a bachelor's degree in planetary science and another in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., and a master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. He is also the recipient of two NASA Exceptional Achievement Awards for his work on Mars Global Surveyor. Whetsel lives in Pasadena with his family.

JPL manages the Mars Exploration Program for NASA's Office of Space Sciences, Washington D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

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