As Chief Mission Concept Architect at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mark Adler is currently responsible for the conception, design, and cost estimation for proposed new space missions across the lab. In past lives at JPL, Mark was the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit Mission Manager from launch through the first extended mission, and he was the Lead Mission Engineer on Cassini-Huygens. Though his work seems like a hobby to Mark, he also enjoys flying small planes, amateur theatre, and writing about himself in third person.
Herschel and Planck were launched successfully this morning on an Ariane 5 from French Guiana. They have separated from the launch vehicle and the ground controllers have acquired both spacecraft. Woo hoo! What a week.