A lifetime of curiosity: An interview with JPL director Charles Elachi

Nadia Drake speaks with the lab head days before the Mars Science Laboratory’s scheduled landing

By Nadia Drake, 09:38 AM August 4, 2012

Charles Elachi is busy this Friday morning. It’s three days before the Curiosity rover is set to land on Mars, and the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is cheerfully making tracks between a NASA social media event and his office on JPL’s campus.

Elachi has been at JPL for 42 years: He came to Caltech in 1968 to earn his Ph.D. in electrical sciences and started working at the lab in 1970. He became director in 2001. “I’m a lifer,” he says. “It has been such a great career.”

Elachi also ...

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