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Lecture: Sojourner: The First Mars Rover

June 16, 2016 @ 18:00 - 20:30

IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Long Island Chapter and AIAA/ASME


Donna Shirley
Former Manager of the Mars Exploration Program
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Sojourner: The First Mars Rover

Thursday, June 16, 2016

RSVP BY June 15, 2016
To: David Paris at davidsparis@optonline.net or (516) 458-859

Location: Spumante Restaurant
1650 Hempstead Turnpike
East Meadow, NY 11554

Directions: Spumante Restaurant is on the south side of Hempstead Turnpike ¼ mile East of Meadowbrook Parkway Exit M5 (Hempstead Turnpike) and 1/8 mile east of Merrick Avenue.

Dinner: $35, Members and Guests; $15, Students


6:00 PM Social Time
6:30 PM Dinner
7:15 PM Presentation

Donna Shirley will give a slide presentation of the development and flight of the small, automated rover that landed with the Mars Pathfinder lander on July 4, 1997. The rover, named for the pre-civil war abolitionist and freedom fighter, Sojourner Truth, operated for over 90 days, exploring the area around the lander. The rover depended on the lander for communication with the earth, so when the lander failed after 90 days, the rover was also unable to communicate. The rover was built and operated for less than $25M, funded by the NASA technology directorate to demonstrate that rovers could usefully function on Mars. This demonstration has led to several generations of much larger and more capable rovers.
Donna Shirley is currently President of Managing Creativity. She is a well-known manager, educator, speaker, consultant and trainer on the management of creative teams. She retired in 1998 as Manager of the $150M/year Mars Exploration Program after a 32-year career at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Previously, Ms. Shirley managed the team that built Sojourner, the Microrover, which was landed by the highly successful Mars Pathfinder project on the surface of Mars on July 4, 1997. In 2003 she retired from the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering where she was Assistant Dean and an instructor of Aerospace Mechanical Engineering. In 2002-2003 she was the founding Director of the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle. Ms. Shirley has an MS in Aerospace Engineering plus over forty years experience in engineering of aerospace and civil systems, including thirty years in management. She has numerous technical and management awards including four honorary Doctorates. She is the author of Managing Martians, published in 1998 and 1999, Managing Creativity, available at her website, and dozens of technical papers. She started flying at age 15 and has commercial and flight instructor licenses.



June 16, 2016
18:00 - 20:30


IEEE Long Island Section