HAMPTON, Va. - A Mars exploration program based on a series of rapid-response, low-cost science-driven missions has a new program scientist.
NASA Headquarters announced that Joel S. Levine of NASA's Langley Research Center will be the Mars Scout Program Scientist for the newly selected Scout mission launching in 2011. Levine is a senior research scientist in the Langley Science Directorate.
Since 2002, Levine has served as the principal investigator of the proposed NASA Langley ARES (Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Survey) Mission to Mars. ARES is a robotic, rocket-powered Mars airplane designed to investigate the atmosphere, surface and sub-surface of Mars.
ARES was a finalist for the first Mars Scout mission in 2003. The Phoenix Mars Lander, proposed by the University of Arizona, was picked for that mission and is scheduled for launch in August 2007. In January 2008, NASA will select one of the two current Mars Scout mission proposals for a 2011 launch.
The Mars Scouts are a component of the Mars Exploration Program in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. Levine will serve as the Mars Scout Program Scientist from Langley Research Center and support NASA's lunar exploration program.
Levine received NASA's Medal for Exceptional Scientific Research, NASA's Outstanding Leadership Award, and The New York Academy of Sciences Halpern Award for Photochemistry. In 1987, Levine received Virginia's Outstanding Scientist Award for his studies of the impact of environmentally significant trace atmospheric gases on the composition and chemistry of the atmosphere.
From 1998 to 2004, at the request of the National Archives and Records Administration, Levine organized and led a team of scientists in the preservation of the Declaration of Independence, the U. S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, collectively called The Charters of Freedom.
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