MAVEN: Q&A with Guy Beutelschies

November 6, 2013

Guy Beutelschies graduated from CU with a degree in aerospace engineering in 1986 and is the Flight Systems Manager for the MAVEN mission.

Q: Can you describe your role at Lockeed Martin as the MAVEN Flight Systems Manager?  

A: I am responsible for leading the team that designed, built, tested and will operate the MAVEN spacecraft. As the Lockheed Martin program manager for MAVEN, my job is to ensure that the spacecraft is built on schedule, stays within its budget, and will meet all of the requirements levied on it by NASA and the project science team.

Q: Is there anything in particular you recall from your student days in CU-Boulder's aerospace sciences department that helped prepare you for the work you are doing today?  

A: As an undergraduate, I was fortunate enough to get a part time job at LASP as a student satellite controller.  I cannot imagine a better training opportunity than actually getting to work as an engineer on a flying spacecraft, and I credit that experience for setting me on the career path to where I am today.

Q: Are there one or two things about potential discoveries from the MAVEN mission that particularly excite you? 

A: MAVEN will help determine when in Mars’ past it had rivers, lakes, and oceans.  Knowing how long those conditions were present has direct impact on discussions about whether life ever evolved on Mars. 

Q: What is it about MAVEN that seems to resonate with the public, including the next generation of space scientists?  

A: I think that one thing people key in on is the fact that MAVEN will show that Mars used to be a lot more like Earth than it is today. Our solar system used to have two blue watery planets -- now one of those is red and dry.  With all of the talk about climate change here on Earth, the fact that MAVEN will be exploring dramatic climate change on another planet is certainly generating a lot of interest.