Chief Scientific Investigator, NASA Mars Exploration Rover Project
Dr. Steven Squyres is the James A. Weeks Professor of Physical Sciences at Cornell University and the acclaimed principal investigator for the science payload on the Mars Exploration Rover Project. He is best known as the face and voice of NASA’s mission to Mars and the pioneering drive across its surface by two high-tech robotic rovers named “Spirit” and “Opportunity.” Read More >
How Innovation Got Us to Mars
Golfing on Mars
Laureate of the Franklin Institute in Earth and Environmental Sciences
In January of 2004, twin robotic explorers named Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars. Expected to last for 90 days, the two rovers have now been exploring the Martian surface for more than six years. The development of Spirit and Opportunity required a team of more than 4,000 highly motivated engineers and scientists who overcame a host of technical challenges – challenges that were multiplied by an extraordinarily tight schedule literally driven by the alignment of the planets. Join Dr. Squyres while he tells the fascinating story of Spirit and Opportunity's initial conception through development, and the design process that led to such extraordinary performance, launch, landing, and six years of exploration on Mars.
"WONDERFUL! We had a fantastic night. He was so very personable before and after the event—both with our staff as well as our audience members. He stuck around and talked at length with MANY people at our reception. We dismissed from the auditorium just a few minutes past 8pm and he stood and talked in the reception area until almost 9pm. Here are a few comments that have already come in: 'It was relaxing, professional, enticing, casual/informal; and just downright fun and enjoyable. The reception afterwards was a nice touch and provided closure to the event in a most enjoyable manner'; 'Great speaker!'; 'Dr. Squyres is awesome! His talk was very informative and entertaining.' Thanks again!"
"Thank you for sharing so passionately with us the progression of the Mars Rover project and the elements that made it successful. Every person in the room was mesmerized as you relayed the story from the insider’s perspective. We held our collective breath with you as the wheels on the rover unfolded in the video. While I’m sure that your audiences always find inspiration in your presentations, your talk was particularly relevant for us. We have mapped out an ambitious and important strategy for our organization and we are very motivated to see it through to a successful implementation. Your insights have helped us to recognize that the organizational and leadership approaches we take will be at least as important as the technology developments we pursue. This message - delivered in a captivating fashion - was an important one for us to hear and one from which we will benefit greatly. It was truly a pleasure to meet you and I look forward to reading your book!"
"Everything was terrific! Steve is very easy to work with, very approachable, and very personable. His material obviously is compelling, fresh, exciting and interesting. He was humorous, solicited laughter, was very concerned about making sure he finished on time to fit our schedule, which we loved, and was well received. He even incorporated a picture of one of our executives into his presentation! His pictures were incredible and he even inserted some video images of Mars."
"Dr. Squyres did a great job! His presentation was dead on for our group of 80 globally diverse engineers! His message on shared mission clarity, putting together the best of the best technically excellent team, risk mitigation and the importance of nailing a very rigid time line - most valued and needed in major program execution - gave our engineers good takeaways and potential best practices. I would bring him back! Thanks."
"That was one of the more extraordinary presentations I have ever heard. I smiled. I wept. If your office would be able to share a transcript, I would be honored to receive it, excited to re-read the exact words. What a wonderful story, and what a superb message to share with young graduates on the threshold of their careers. Thank you so much."
"Steven was absolutely the best! He really gave so much. He was totally flat out from travel yet jumped right in! The students in the day were absolutely ga ga! I highly recommend him. And then we had 400 for his talk in the evening. He gave a 45 minute slide presentation, which was very smooth and well presented. He even brought 12 hour old slides! I am so very pleased. Everyone went away feeling very good. He stood in our reception line and said hello to everyone. He really is terrific!"
"I wanted to let you know that Dr. Steven Squyres was very well received last night. He was a HIT! It was fantastic! Everybody absolutely loved the evening and Dr. Squyres! He was excellent, completely tailored to our timeline, and we are extremely pleased. Everybody loved the fact that they were getting to see things that no one else had seen too (he updated his slides 48 hours before his presentation). The reviews are all in and the people said that this year, all things considered, was the best Royalty Celebration Dinner so far. Steve was a major reason for this success. His presentation, information and energy were just what we were looking for. Thank you so much for recommending him! We'll be sure to contact you for next year's program."
"Dr. Squyres captivated us with his remarkable account of Spirit and Opportunity’s journey on Mars. His passion and enthusiasm made the event truly memorable for us all. With a greater understanding of the Mars Rover mission, we look forward to seeing further images from Spirit and Opportunity, as well as new geological findings over the coming year.
Our employees were captivated with Dr. Squyres' detailed account of the Rovers' mission on Mars. There were several employees that stayed after the forum to speak personally with Dr. Squyres. He took the time to speak with all the employees. It was truly a great event. It was a pleasure to work with you and I appreciate you efforts in making this happen."
"Steve Squyres was absolutely over the top! His presentation, beginning with a fabulous video and then using images from the Rover mission was first-rate and perfect for a university setting. He was animated, enthusiastic and informative. Then, this morning he presented even more images and spoke for nearly two hours to our students and faculty.
Everyone, from the president on down, was thrilled with his appearance – the best in our endowed series dating to 1985. His enthusiasm and knowledge were captivating. Everyone has commented "This was by far the best Kenan Lecture program we have ever had!"
Thanks for your help in facilitating his visit to Transylvania - no doubt, it will be the topic of conversation for a very long time. Good luck with the rest of the mission."