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UC Davis Alumnus Adam Steltzner

UC Davis Alumnus Adam Steltzner

Adam Steltzner Speaks at UC Davis on May 21

Posted on: February 25, 2013

NASA JPL lead engineer and UC Davis alumnus Adam Steltzner, who led the Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) Team for the Mars Curiosity Rover, will speak at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 in Room 1065, Kemper Hall on the UC Davis campus. His talk is titled "The Right Kind of Crazy: Risk, Reason and Engineering Curiosity to the Surface of Mars." Admission is free. RSVP on Facebook.

Adam Steltzner led the innovative EDL team that guided the Curiosity rover to a successful landing on the surface of Mars. During the ‘seven minutes of terror’ ground control had no control over the automated system, which slowed from 13,000 MPH to a hovering speed, at which point a rocket-powered platform gently lowered the rover to the surface of Mars.

After high school, Steltzner performed with several rock bands in the San Francisco Bay Area. One evening after a concert Steltzner was intrigued by the stars in the night sky, which sparked his curiosity. He enrolled in physics courses at the local community college, the College of Marin. Eventually Steltzner gained admission to UC Davis, and earned his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 1990.

In 1991, Steltzner graduated with a masters of science in applied mechanics from the California Institute of Technology. That same year he joined JPL’s Spacecraft Structures and Dynamics group. Steltzner would later earn a Ph.D. in engineering mechanics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999.

"7 Minutes of Terror" video:
Adam Steltzner info: