Cornell astronomer Steve Squyres, the principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers, will become Blue Origin’s chief scientist. (Cornell University via YouTube)
Just months after closing out the 15-year-long Opportunity rover mission on Mars, Cornell University astronomer Steve Squyres is taking advantage of a new opportunity: the post of chief scientist at Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture.
Today Blue Origin confirmed that Squyres, 63, will be joining the company, which is headquartered in Kent, Wash.
Squyres has been involved in NASA space missions including Voyager’s trip past the solar system’s giant planets and Magellan’s voyage to Venus. But his main claim to fame is his stint as principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers.
The twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, bounced onto different locations on the Red Planet’s surface in 2004, beginning a mission that was baselined for 90 days. To the team’s surprise, Spirit ended up lasting six years, and Opportunity continued to send data back until the solar-powered rover went out of contact during a massive Martian dust storm in mid-2018.
After months of trying to re-establish communication, NASA declared an end to the mission in February. “It was an honorable end, and it came ...