Baton Rouge man helps land NASA rover on Mars

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – We continue to receive thousands of new images and sounds from the surface of Mars thanks to NASA’s Perseverance Rover which landed in February.

Thanks to one Louisiana man inside Mission Control, we’re one step closer to finding any signs of life on the red planet.

“As the evens were clicking off, you’re going through your mind ‘yes that works, yes that works’ … and for us with Perseverance, we had some new features” explained Keith Comeaux.

Comeaux is a mission manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). In February, he commanded crews for the safe launch, approach, entry and descent of the Perseverance rover on Mars.

“We’ll start bringing all of our instruments online so they can start doing science” Comeaux explained. “We’re going to look for a safe place to fly the helicopter that we brought with us. And hopefully within the not too distant future we’ll start scouting the landscape looking for some samples to take” he said.

Comeaux has been at NASA for 15 years; working first on the Curiosity rover landing before the most recent Perseverance.

He got his start in the Capital City; a graduate of Catholic High School and LSU. He’s not the only Baton Rougean leaving a lasting mark in space.

Later this fall, Hayley Arceneaux, a St. Joseph’s Academy graduate, will make history as part of the first commercial flight crew to space.

“It makes me think about everything that we do” Comeaux said. “We persevere through many hardships. We launched and flew this spacecraft to Mars through the pandemic and we’ve had many challenges. So the name Perseverance really means a lot to us” he said.

“I would say to Hayley, ‘geaux perseverance! Way to go and we’re really rooting for you” Comeaux said.

While the journey for Perseverance on Mars is just beginning, it’s already clear, the limit does not exist.

“This is a good reminder I think for all of us that we can do amazing things when we put our heads together and work toward a common goal” Comeaux said. “I hope that message sinks in around the world”.

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