REAC/TS receives NASA award for Mars 2020 support

March 21, 2022

ORISE’s Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS) team was selected for a NASA Silver Group Achievement Award for superior accomplishment in the Mars 2020 radiological contingency planning and deployment.

REAC/TS was part of a Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST) that, along with other NEST assets, started planning for the launch as early as 2014. During the launch, REAC/TS Director Dr. Carol Iddins (middle) and Health Physicist Dr. Mark Jenkins (second from right) were stationed on-site as part of DOE/NNSA Consequence Management support in the very unlikely event of a medical emergency. The Perseverance Rover, powered by a radioactive energy source, added an additional element of planning and response preparedness for NASA, the Jet Propulsion Lab, DOE/NNSA, and other agencies.

NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its onboard Left Navigation Camera (Navcam)

NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its onboard Left Navigation Camera (Navcam). The camera is located high on the rover's mast and aids in driving. This image was acquired on March 8, 2022 (Sol 373) at the local mean solar time of 11:58:44. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Other REAC/TS team members—Nurse/Paramedics Angie Bowen and Wayne Baxter, Dr. Jason Davis, Dr. Ron Goans, and Dr. Al Wiley—did not travel to the launch site in Florida but did provide critical remote home team support. In conjunction with NASA Headquarters Chief Medical Officer, Kennedy Space Center Occupational Health Facility, and local/regional emergency/medical assets, REAC/TS enhanced the emergency response capabilities to maximize the public health and safety of the first responders, healthcare providers, and the region for the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover launch.

This is the second honor REAC/TS has received for their support of the Mars 2020 mission. In January 2022, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm presented REAC/TS with the Secretary Achievement Award, which 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.

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