The Connecticut connection to the Mars rover landing – Deputy Project Scientist Katie Stack


(WTNH) – Connecticut has a lot to celebrate with this Mars rover landing since one person leading the team is from our state.

“And I help lead a team of over 450 scientists to operate the perseverance rover on Mars,” Katie Stack said.

Katie Stack Morgan is a Cheshire native and the Deputy Project Scientist of the Mars 2020 rover.

Her journey to Mars began at Cheshire High School. News 8 had a chance to chat with her high school AP physics teacher Julie Barker and she remembers her passion and drive.

“And that was exciting for me as a teacher yet see that not only does she have a passion for what she’s studying and for this wonderful science that is evolving by the minute now with her bars are over but she wants to share that and she wants to make a difference for students who are interested in science and let them see what’s out there and what they can do,” Julie Barker, Physics teacher, Cheshire High School.

Now she’s inspiring future space explorers all over the globe and here in Connecticut. Just last week, she made time to chat with current physics students about her work with the Perseverance Rover Team. All of this makes Barker feel proud, especially seeing a woman succeed in a STEM career.

“I guess I think back to when I was in college and graduate school is acting as a research scientist in graduate school and work very many women and so things have really changed and it is nice to see women taking a leadership role.”

But the work is far from over. Now, they hope to find signs of life on Mars.

“We are going to the place on Mars where there were a fantastic opportunity and potential for life to exist and so we should find it if it was there.”

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