Source: ORISE | Release | 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 Dr. 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, Dr. 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.