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Collegiate Calibration Crew (CCC)

Calibration of all of the Pancam images has been performed by a hard-working and dedicated team of undergraduate students, graduate students, and staff originally at Cornell University since sol 1 on both rovers (January, 2004) and currently at Arizona State University since 2011`. These folks, collectively called the "Collegiate Calibration Crew", have been supervised by Jonathan Joseph and Jim Bell and have performed phenomenal work, sol after sol, 24.7 hours per sol, 12 Phobes per Deim (or something like that), to allow the rest of the team to generate the color images and other multispectral images products from the four Pancam instruments on Mars.






I have been involved with the Athena project from the very beginning. I worked with Steve Squyres and his colleagues at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California writing the original proposal in 1997. Since that time, I have taken on many roles including creating blind calibration samples for the APXS for the APEX mission, taking on a mission operations role as documentarian and KOP on MER, being part of the pancam calibration team, and making classroom visits where I teach kids about Mars and the mission.
Before delving into a career in space science, I focused on matters of this planet, working on watershed geochemistry in the Department of Ecology. I have also been an associate editor of a science journal, and an assistant museum curator. Then came Mars. There are many cool things about being involved with the Mars Exploration Rover mission. It is on the "cutting edge " of science -- we are trying to do things that have NEVER been done before. Since I have a strong biology and geochemistry background, I am intrigued by the idea that Mars once may have had conditions very similar to early Earth - when life first came about.
Mars demands most of my attention these days. Still, I am able to find time to be a musician, a writer, and an artist.


Nate Briggs is an undergraduate mechanical engineering major at Arizona State University. He started working on the calibration team in the summer of 2016. He mainly calibrates the data products from Opportunity, and he is beginning to work with code for the Mars Science Laboraroty (MSL). This is Nate's first venture into space-related work, though he has always been very interested in the subject. In his spare time, Nate rock climbs and backpacks, having an insatiable love of the outdoors.




Sarah is an undergraduate student studying Earth and Environmental Studies at Arizona State University. Following her love of astronomy in high school, she has worked for South Florida Science Center and Aquarium Dekelboum Planetarium, the Kika Sliva Pla Planetaiurm in Gainesville Florida, and has volunteered for the ASU Star Lab Mobile Planetarium. Along with her interests in optical astronomy, Sarah was former president of Altair Rocketry at ASU and a former member of Icarus Rocketry. She obtained her National Assocciation of Rocketry (NAR) Level 1 high power rocketry certification in December of 2014. During 2015, Sarah was a member of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) team calibrating Pancam. She was also involved in the mosaic creation process for Mastcam onboard Curiosity. Finding a whole new side to astronomy with planetary science, Sarah has taken off the past year from her studies to spend time discovering what area she would like to further pursue with the remainder of her undergraduate career.




Kelsie Crawford is currently an undergraduate student at Arizona State University studying Astrophysics and Physics. She began her work with the MER team as a Pancam calibrator in spring of 2015. In addition to calibrating, Kelsie helps with the mosaicking process for Pancam as well as Mastcam on board the Mars Science Laboraroty (MSL). Recently, she has started with maintaining and keeping this website up to date. In her spare time, Kelsie is a high power rocketry enthusiast and has her Level 1 High Power Rocketry certification with the National Association of Rocketry (NAR). She is also very artistic having been an interior design major whilst she was in high school, a dancer her entire life, and a graphic designer. Kelsie feels she is very fortunate that she is able to combine both her artistic and science sides working with the MER and MSL teams.


Emily started working with the Mars Exploration Rover team in 1998 as a high school student intern. She was introduced to the mission at Cornell University through an outreach program called LAPIS, which exposed her team to Mars exploration, mission planning, and remote rover operations. While earning a degree in Art and Architectural History at Ithaca College, she continued to support the MER mission until 2005, when she took a full time operations position at Cornell. Since then, she has served as a Documentarian, a "Keeper of the Plan," and a Pancam Payload Uplink Lead (Martian landscape photographer). She has also taken up the maintenance of this website. With a deep interest in both science and the arts, she considers herself incredibly lucky to be part of such a demanding and fulfilling combination of the two.


Eldar Noe Dobrea (END) is a planetary scientist (PS) working for the Planetary Science Institute (PSI) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He began working on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project as a first year graduate student (FYGS) at Cornell University (CU), but was soon diverted to develop software for the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission, and subsequently to work on his thesis (T). That being said, he wrote a thesis on Spectroscopic detection of water alteration products on Mars (ABCDEFG) and submitted in Aug 2004 (08/04), a few months after both MER and the Observatoire for La Mineralogie, L'Eau, la Glace, et l'Activite (OMEGA) both presented the first evidence for ABCDEFG. Since then, he has worked at Malin Space Science Systems (MS³), University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), and JPL. He is interested in studying the geological context of past and present water on Mars, and its implications to the development and retention of life on the Red (Ocre, actually) planet. He is a Participating Scientist (PS, nill plantary scientist) on the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter (MRO), and has become Payload Downlink Lead (PDL) on MER as of May of 2009 (05/09). His work in the planetary sciences, espcially at JPL, has taught him how to use acronyms out the wazoo (WZ).












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Ben graduated from Cornell University with a BS in Applied and Engineering Physics in May 2005. He started working for MER in 2002 during his sophomore year in the Mars Camera Lab, assisting Alex Hayes with the lab work required for his honors thesis. Ben then started as a member of the Cornell Calibration Crew during its early days and worked hard to recruit undergraduates to the CCC team until the end of his time at Cornell. Apart from MER, Ben did some moasaic design for the Cassini mission while at Cornell and has worked at both JPL and Goddard Space Flight Center during summer internships. Ben is currently a Masters student at the University of Colorado at Boulder in Aerospace Engineering Sciences. He plans to have a career dedicated to bridging the gaps between science, engineering, and space policy and hopes to contribute to the next generation of Mars exploration.








Jonathan Joseph is the programming lead for the Pancam calibration and quick-look mosaicking software, and has played a leading role in the development of all of the Pancam data processing and analysis tools. Prior to working on MER, Jonathan developed observation planning and scientific analysis tools for the successful Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous mission to 433 Eros and the (sadly, unsuccessful) CONTOUR comet flyby mission.


Kjartan first got involved with the Mars Exploration Rovers as a graduate student in the Danish magnet properties team. He graduated with a Ph.D. in physics from Aarhus University, Denmark in March 2005; the thesis work being focused on aerodynamics of martian dust motion as it relates to dust capture on the rover magnets. He is now at Cornell University where he holds a temporary post doc. position and works as a Pancam PDL as well as continuing to work on the properties of martian airborne dust. In Denmark he used to go sailing and rollerskating, play soccer and board games, and dress up in medieval costumes. These days he mostly spends his free time biking or reading about history, politics, biology, codfish, and anything else that catches his fancy.












Dmitry Savransky started working for Jim Bell while still an undergraduate at Cornell University. Starting with developing code for processing Themis visual data from the Odyssey mission, he later also joined the MER Pancam calibration crew. He received his BS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 2004, and completed his Masters of Engineering in January of 2005. Since then, he has become a full time member of the Pancam imaging team and is currently working on true color representation of MER Pancam data, continuing his work with Themis data processing, and pursuing various other projects such as this website. He participates in planning operations as a PDL and PUL. In his newly found copious free time, he enjoys skiing, biking, skating, playing the clarinet and piano, and spending quality time with his rapidly growing collection of classical science fiction.


Despite being a Comparative Literature major with no background in Space Science, Alex tried everything he could to become involved with MER since he first found out about it in 2003, and once he found a niche logged many late night/early morning hours during the in flight practice calibration sessions. When the rovers landed he continued to contribute to image calibration and mosaic construction until his graduation in May of 2006, and though now working in Israel he still tries to keep up on the fascinating work being done back in Ithaca/JPL/Gusev/Meridiani.




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J.R. began working with MER before landing, when he was a freshman. Initially, J.R. joined the calibration team working all hours of the night to calibrate images as soon as they came to Earth. The summer after landing, J.R. was hired full time to calibrate and program image support software, improving calibration quality and streamlining the processes. J.R. now spends most of his time putting together Pancam mosaics, many of which are featured on this site. He continues to calibrate while training new members, and has personally calibrated over 100,000 images. J.R. enjoys the outdoors, racquet sports and all forms of rocks, he hopes to continue studying Mars as long as it is there.


TJ Slezak worked with Jim Bell and Austin Godber at Arizona State University until he graduated from his undergrad in 2015. TJ's research involved an investigation into Io's surface geology to resolve compositional and material properties of Io's upper lithosphere. TJ has held internship positions at the United States Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center - Flagstaff and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech, he continues his research involvement at ASU. TJ is a Ronald Greeley Planetary Geology Scholarship fellow and former NASA PGGURP intern. TJ was a co-founding member of the ASU "AstroDevils" Astronomy Club and served as president of the club in its first three years. He played on the lacrosse team for ASU his freshman year and was a Division 1 First Team All-State selection in high school. TJ worked as an image calibration specialist and assistant systems administrator for Jim Bell and Austin Godber. TJ enjoys disc golf, guitar, music, and the outdoors. When TJ is not working or conducting research, he can be found relaxing in a boat off the coast of Point Loma. TJ started attending graduate school to pursue his M.S. in Geology at Brigham Young University in the fall of 2015.


Pamela Smith is on the research staff in the Cornell Department of Astronomy. She received a B.S. degree in Communication Arts from Cornell and wrote for several newspapers and radio stations before immersing herself in matters of the Solar System. She designed the Athena website, wrote most of the content on its pages, and has enjoyed many hours in the Pancam room calibrating images from Mars. She is also on Cornell's Cassini team, working with imaging software for the ISS cameras. A fan of science fiction ever since the days when monsters first roamed Maple Street in "The Twilight Zone," she uses her vivid imagination to fuel a non-stop passion for screenwriting.






Perry Vargas is an undergraduate at Arizona State University studying Astrophysics and Computational Mathematical Sciences. He works in Dr. Jim Bell's group as a computer programmer focusing on data management and image software. Perry began as a calibrator and a programmer but eventually focused his time on programming. He is also working with Dr. Carl Gardner's group (through ASU's MCTP program) on computational models of astrophysical phenomenon, focusing mainly on astrophysical jets. In his spare time, Perry serves on the board of Grassroots Shakespeare Company Arizona and has acted in many of the productions.






Janet is a PhD candidate in Cornell's Science & Technology Studies department, where she is writing her dissertation on the use of images in the MER mission. A historian and sociologist of science trained at Cambridge and Cornell, she has also worked in Human-Computer Interaction in the Culturally Embedded Computing Research Group, and as a Human Factors Engineer in Intel's User Centered Design team. Janet has been a proud member of the Pancam CCC since January 2006, and when not calibrating pictures from Gusev and Meridiani she also serves as President of the Cornell GPSA and plays her electric harp with the Cornell Jazz Ensembles.




Andrew joined the calibration team in the Spring of 2015 and is a student at ASU getting his B.S. in Astrophysics. In addition to calibrating, he assists in the logistics of the Mastcam-Z camera system, part of the Mars 2020 rover, and graduate students in modelling scenarios on the Moon. His key related interests are orbital mechanics and Near Earth Objects. In his spare time he is usually walking his dog or reading Larry Niven.