Keri Bean in the NASA JPL Mars Yard, with the Curiosity test-bed twin ‘Maggie’

Interview: Keri Bean—Mars meteorologist, Curiosity Rover team member

Keri Bean in the NASA JPL Mars Yard, with the Curiosity test-bed twin ‘Maggie’

Keri Bean is a meteorologist specialising in the atmospherics of other planets. She is on the team operating the Curiosity Rover for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission. Prior to MSL, Keri has had roles in the missions for other Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, a prototype Moon rover, the Phoenix Mars Lander, and the Hubble Space telescope. And she’s just 25 years old! That’s a pretty incredible CV to rack up already.

In this interview, Keri talks with me about her work on MSL and the other missions, plus how and why she got into space science. It all started when a tornado hit her pre-school.

Australian Science on SoundCloud.

Keri (centre) with many of the MSL team and ‘Scarecrow’, the other Curiosity test rover (Scarecrow is lighter than Curiosity so that it mirrors the lower Mars gravity).

A GIF of the partial solar eclipse by Mars moon Phobos, as captured by the Curiosity rover—an image capture task coordinated by Keri.

A photo of Phobos (highly zoomed it, and hence quite grainy) taken by Curiosity just after dusk on 21 September using one of its Mastcams, showing its ‘potato’ shape.

The ‘Chariot’ Lunar rover prototype for which Keri worked on camera design (and which James May managed to have a minor accident with when filming an episode of Top Gear!).

The Mars Phoenix Lander.

Cite this article:
Kerlin A (2012-11-12 00:24:25). Interview: Keri Bean—Mars meteorologist, Curiosity Rover team member. Australian Science. Retrieved: May 24, 2015, from

Alan Kerlin

AUTHOR: Alan Kerlin

Alan Kerlin, BAppSc (EnvSc), is an amateur astronomer and blogger, living in Canberra. When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon in 1969, Alan Kerlin and the rest of Red Hill Primary School in Canberra watched it on a single small black and white TV. In 2005, Alan moved back to Canberra, with his family. In between, Alan has had a diverse career, including as an elected Councillor in Queensland, IT business operator, Landcare manager in Holbrook, and greenhouse consultant in Brisbane. More recently, exposure to the online science community through social media has reignited Alan's interest in science in general, and particularly in astronomy. Living in Canberra gives him opportunities to connect with and interview numerous leading scientists. Find Alan on: Google+, Twitter and Facebook, and his blog is called The Beach House - a tribute to Douglas Adams.


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