Former Westfield resident is lead engineer on NASA’s Mars Rover Perseverance

Hampden County

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Everyone has been talking about the stunning images sent back by NASA’s Mars Rover Perseverance.

22News had the chance to speak with the man in charge of the project’s camera and microphone system.

David Gruel, a former Westfield resident was the lead engineer for the Rover’s camera and microphone subsystem at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. After graduating from HCC, Gruel went on to graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

Gruel shared his advice for younger generations with 22News over Skype.

“There’s a lot of possibilities out there and if you apply yourself and work hard then you can accomplish some amazing things, that’s basically how I did it,” Gruel said.

Perseverance wasn’t the former New Englander’s first encounter with Mars. Gruel also participated in four other successful Rover missions, including the Mars Pathfinder mission in 1997.

“You know, it’s just been amazing. Every time one of these Rovers goes down to the surface, it’s tense but exciting, you actually follow along and hope that everything is going to be okay,” Gruel told 22News. “You plan for the worst and hope for the best and in this case, is again worked out.”

Gruel said he’s looking forward to what his team will accomplish next.

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