Press Room

NASA Engineer Kobie Boykins Shares Stunning Images and Discoveries from NASA’s Latest Venture to Mars

HOUSTON (April 5, 2017) – The Houston Symphony and National Geographic Live present Exploring Mars: The Next Generation, the third event in a dynamic four-part speaker series featuring some of the world’s most fascinating explorers, scientists, filmmakers and adventurers.

Featured speaker Kobie Boykins, a dynamic young engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, will recount the challenges and triumphs of the Mars exploration rover missions, sharing remarkable images and discoveries at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

Boykins, a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, has been on the front line of Mars exploration for over a decade. As supervisor of the mobility and remote mast sensing teams for the Curiosity rover – which five years ago made one of the most dramatic spacecraft landings ever attempted – Boykins has monitored headline-making studies, including proof of the former presence of water on Mars, indicating that our planetary neighbor could have supported life. He is also credited for designing the Curiosity rover’s actuators.

“I probably have learned significantly more from my failures that I ever have from my successes,” says Boykins, reflecting on the process of scientific exploration. “The things that I broke, I remember all of them, and I remember ‘here’s how I fixed it.’ Those things stick in your brain and that starts that innovation cycle.”

Boykins has been instrumental in building all the rovers that have safely landed on Mars: Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity. Previously, he designed the solar array systems that powered the Spirit and Opportunity rovers to outlive their projected 90-day life span.

For his work on Curiosity and preceding projects, Boykins received a NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 2012, one of the highest honors NASA employees and contractors can earn, joining the ranks of astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Mark Kelly.

This event will take place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston’s Theater District. For tickets and information, please call (713) 224-7575 or visit Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.
Kobie Boykins, NASA Engineer
Tickets from $15

About National Geographic Live

National Geographic Live is the live events division of the National Geographic. With a broad roster of talent including renowned photographers, scientists, authors, filmmakers and adventurers, National Geographic Live’s critically acclaimed programs have connected with audiences worldwide for over a century. Currently, National Geographic Live events are held in 32 cities around the world, including, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Singapore and Sydney. In each of these cities, speakers share behind-the-scenes stories from the front lines of exploration onstage alongside stunning imagery and gripping footage. For more information, visit

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC, a joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, combines National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic Studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, location-based entertainment, archival sales, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses. A portion of the proceeds from National Geographic Partners LLC will be used to fund science, exploration, conservation and education through significant ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society. For more information, visit and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

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