The Rancho Santa Fe Education Foundation recently announced the kick-off of its new “Speaker Series” program on Jan. 10 with National Geographic speaker Kobie Boykins.
A dynamic young engineer at NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 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 Jan. 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. Most recently, Boykins was responsible for the design of actuators on Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory, which safely landed on Mars 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 JASONProject 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 will recount the challenges and triumphs of the Mars exploration rover missions, sharing remarkable images and discoveries that continue to come to us from the Red Planet.
The RSF Education Foundation is excited to launch this special new initiative with Boykins, stated Evan Malter of the Education Foundation.
“I am certain that his passion for his work and for education will leave an impact on our children and teachers that will last not only through the school year, but, for many, it will last for a lifetime. That is what we wish to accomplish with each speaker that we choose for our new Speaker Series.”
Grades K-4th students will attend a 30-minute presentation and grades 5-8 will attend a one-hour presentation in the morning. Boykins will spend the rest of the day visiting and interacting with various classrooms and will lead a one-hour after-school program for the R. Roger Rowe Lego Robotics students.