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Mars rover Curiosity veteran Michael Watkins to lead NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Mars rover Curiosity veteran Michael Watkins to lead NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

A veteran of the Mars rover Curiosity team is set to become the director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, officials have announced.

Michael Watkins, director of the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas at Austin, will officially take the helm of the Caltech-managed laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge on July 1, a day after current director Charles Elachi retires.

Watkins spent 22 years working at JPL before leaving for the University of Texas last year, a two-decade run that he capped as manager of the lab’s science division and chief scientist for the engineering and science directorate. He also served as mission manager for Curiosity,...

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