NASA’s Sam Gordon Brings Mars Mission to SCCC


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  • Sam Gordon and the Rotaract Club at SCCC.



The Mars Exploration Program is a science-driven program that seeks to understand whether Mars was, is or can be a habitable world. And, after three months on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity Rover is offering tantalizing details about the red planet.

Sussex County Community College’s Rotaract Club was excited to have Sam Gordon, one of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineers, present and discuss the mission to Mars. He gave students, faculty and visitors a close-up view of how the program started. Gordon also discussed the program's methodology and some of the materials that JPL used on the Rover when he spoke at SCCC’s Student Center on Tuesday, Dec. 18—emphasizing that their lessons in math and science do have a purpose.

“Any time I have an opportunity to inspire young people to follow their dreams in education I take it, because one student might be touched and decide to pursue science and engineering,” Gordon said.

Gordon’s presentations for college audiences are informed by lessons learned from working on the mission’s engineering team overcoming dire challenges to accomplishing their ultimate triumph. He addresses working within a diverse team of high performing individuals, breaking down barriers and fostering open communication across departments.

Gordon graduated from Harvey Mudd College in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in engineering with a concentration in electrical, digital electronics and controls engineering. Since graduation, he has worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he works on Mars Science Laboratory’s descent stage landing radar, a mars surface anemometer and the next generation deep space radio.

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