Steve Squyres is best known for his key role as principal Investigator for the science payload on the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1981 and spent five years as a postdoctoral associate and research scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center (ARC) before returning to Cornell as a faculty member. His main areas of scientific interest have been on Mars and the moons of the outer planets.
There is no substitute for persistence.
Steve is a pioneer in the research of the history and distribution of water on Mars and of the possible existence and habitability of a liquid water ocean on Europa. He has participated in many of NASA's planetary exploration missions, including the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 missions to the outer solar system, the Magellan mission to Venus and the NEAR Shoemaker mission. Along with his work on the rovers, he is also a co-investigator on the Mars Express and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter missions, a member of the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer Flight Investigation team for the Mars Odyssey mission, and a member of the imaging team for the Cassini mission to Saturn. He also participated in the Mars 96, Mars Polar Lander and Mars Observer missions.
What advice can you offer to young scientists or engineers?
There is no substitute for persistence. You must get all the training you need, and you must do well at it. That's a given. But in order to succeed in this business, the most important thing is to not let setbacks stop you.
What are your dreams for the future of exploration?
Sending humans to Mars, the sooner the better.
When did you decide you wanted to be in the space industry and how did you go for it?
I realized that this was what I wanted to do as an undergraduate in college, when I took a course on the results of the Viking mission to Mars. At that point I changed my main subject of study from geology to space science, and I have done nothing else ever since.
Do you have any hobbies?