The Rancho Santa Fe Education Foundation kicked-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. 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.
Grades K-4th students attended a 30-minute presentation and grades 5-8 attended a one-hour presentation in the morning. Boykins spent the rest of the day visiting and interacting with various classrooms and led a one-hour after-school program for the R. Roger Rowe Lego Robotics students.