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Explore the Red Planet in 360 Magazine

The fall issue of 360: The Magazine of San Diego State University talks to the SDSU alumni who helped put Curiosity on Mars.

You won’t find any better examples of SDSU’s new tagline, Leadership Starts Here, than in the fall issue of 360: The Magazine of San Diego State University.

The cover story features seven alumni who helped put the rover Curiosity on Mars this summer.  Part of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), they played a variety of roles on the Mars rover team—from systems engineer to spacecraft navigator.

Read the online interactive version of 360 Magazine

Curiosity is the fourth Mars rover engineered by JPL and by far the most technologically advanced. Its two-year mission—to determine whether the red planet is, or ever has been, habitable to microbial life—was fraught with challenges, including the notorious landing sequence employing a giant parachute, a rocket-controlled descent vehicle and a bungee-like apparatus JPL called a sky crane.

“People understood the operation was iffy,” said Mark Ryne ’80, an orbit determination analyst with the navigation team. “Even if we do everything right, a rock can tip it over. In our work, there are either spectacular successes or spectacular failures.”

Alongside these pioneers of space exploration, 360 Magazine features profiles of many other alumni, faculty and students who are making a difference in our world.

For example, Kee Moon, mechanical engineering professor, leads a team creating implantable brain chips that allow our wounded veterans and others to more effectively use their prostheses. Doctoral student Kimberly Miller is studying the interaction of climate change and microbial methane production as a Fulbright fellow. Alumnus Walter Rosenkranz is a co-founder of the car2go all-electric car-sharing fleet in San Diego.

To see more stories, go to sdsu.edu/360

Read the online interactive version of 360 Magazine

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