PALM DESERT —National Geographic Live, National Geographic’s touring speaker series, and the McCallum Theatre announced “Exploring Mars” with Kobie Boykins, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, on Monday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m.
NASA mechanical engineer Kobie Boykins is intimately involved with the Red Planet. As supervisor of the mobility and remote sensing teams for the rover Curiosity, Boykins has monitored headline-making studies, including proof of the former presence of water on Mars indicating that the red planet could have supported life. Join Boykins, winner of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal, as he shares his boundless enthusiasm for unraveling the mysteries of outer space and recounts the latest exciting chapter of the planet’s exploration.
As a dynamic young engineer, Kobie Boykins is on the front line of Mars exploration. Boykins designed the solar arrays that power the Mars exploration rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Landing on Mars on January 25, 2004, Opportunity was designed to survive a mission lasting approximately 90 days. Remarkably, the rover continues to traverse the surface of Mars to this day, sending back valuable scientific data.
Boykins was responsible for the design of actuators on Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory, which safely landed on the Red Planet on Aug. 6, 2012. Boykins’ other projects have included work on the Mars Pathfinder mission and the Ocean Surface Topography Mission, making measurements by satellite of the Earth’s oceans.
In 2002, Boykins joined a team of young scientists for a public education tour—dubbed “Marsapalooza”—to raise awareness of the Mars Exploration Project. Four years later he was featured in the JASON Project Expedition “Mysteries of Earth and Mars,” bringing his passion for space exploration to students and teachers worldwide. An engaging public speaker who puts a fresh face on America’s space program, Boykins recounts the challenges and triumphs of the planet’s exploration rover missions, sharing remarkable images and discoveries that continue to come to us from the Red Planet.
National Geographic Live is the live events division of National Geographic. With a broad roster of talent including renowned photographers, scientists, authors, filmmakers and adventurers, National Geographic Live’s critically acclaimed programs have connected with audiences worldwide for over a century. Currently, National Geographic Live events are held in a variety of cities around the world, including, Seattle, Tampa, Los Angeles, Florence, and Calgary. In each of these cities, speakers share behind-the-scenes stories from the front lines of exploration onstage alongside stunning imagery and gripping footage.