January 24, 2022
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm honored REAC/TS with the Secretary's Achievement Award during a virtual ceremony on January 12, 2022, for supporting NASA's Mars Perseverance Rover launch in July 2020. The award honors teams of DOE/NNSA employees and contractors who accomplish significant achievements on behalf of the Department, demonstrating cooperation and teamwork in attaining their goals.
REAC/TS is part of the Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST) that started planning for the launch as early as 2014. REAC/TS Director Dr. Carol Iddins and Health Physicist Mark Jenkins were stationed on-site as part of DOE/NNSA Consequence Management support in the very unlikely event of a medical emergency. Other REAC/TS team members—Nurse/Paramedics Angie Bowen and Wayne Baxter, Jason Davis, Dr. Ron Goans, and Dr. Al Wiley—provided critical remote home team support.
REAC/TS enhanced the emergency response capabilities to maximize the public health and safety of the first responders, healthcare providers, and the region for this launch. After a seven-month-long journey, NASA’s Perseverance Rover successfully touched down on the Red Planet on February 18, 2021.
The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) asset that is dedicated to enabling critical scientific, research, and health initiatives of the department and its laboratory system by providing world class expertise in STEM workforce development, scientific and technical reviews, and the evaluation of radiation exposure and environmental contamination.
ORISE is managed by ORAU, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, for DOE’s Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.osti.gov.