Missions

Dr. Melissa Rice and the MSL testbed rover at JPL

NASA MARS SCIENCE LABORATORY (MSL) MISSION

I am currently a Science Team Collaborator for the MSL Curiosity rover, working with Dr. John Grotzinger, the MSL Project Scientist. From the rover's landing on August 5, 2012 until early November, my colleagues and I were on "Mars time," shifting our schedule around the clock to follow the 24hr 40 min Martian day (we have since returned to Earth time). My operations roles include Geology and Mineralogy Science Theme Lead; Keeper of the Plan; and Science Operations Working Group Documentarian. For my research I am using data from the rover's 17 cameras to interpret the mineralogy, sedimentology and stratigraphy of the Gale Crater landing site. Prior to the mission's launch, I was involved in the landing site selection process and worked to assess the science potential of Eberswalde Crater for MSL. The photo shows the MSL Vehicle System Test Bed rover, with me for scale.

Dr. Melissa Rice working on MER data

NASA MARS EXPLORATION ROVER (MER) MISSION

I have worked mission operations for the MER Spirit and Opportunity rovers since 2007. As a graduate student of Dr. Jim Bell, the Principal Investigator of the Pancam instruments, I worked as a Pancam Payload Downlink Lead. Currently I work as a Payload Uplink Lead for the Engineering Cameras and Microscopic Imager. I am also a Science Team Collaborator on the mission and use Pancam to interpret ancient and modern geological processes on Mars (see more on my research page). In the photo I'm working at on MER at Cornell University's "mission control".

Dr. Melissa Rice with Apollo 17 Astronaut Jack Schmidt

NASA K10 ROBOTIC RECON FOR LUNAR SURFACE SCIENCE

I have also participated in mission planning and operations as a team member of the K10 Robotic Recon experiment for the Lunar Science Institute at NASA Ames Research Center. I served as a Science Backroom member and as a Flight Control Team Science Officer in experiments in 2008 and 2009. In these roles I worked closely with other team members to create and execute science plans for a simulated lunar rover mission. The photo shows me and Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison "Jack" Schmitt on a simulated lunar traverse with the K10 rover - one of the highlights of my career!