Currently Gentry Lee is Chief Engineer for the Solar System Exploration Directorate at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. His major recent work included the oversight of all engineering aspects of the twin rover missions to Mars that landed in January 2004, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) in 2006, and NASA's successful Deep Impact and Stardust missions.
Previously, Mr. Lee was Chief Engineer for the Galileo project from 1977-1988 and, after working in a variety of positions on the Viking project from 1968-76, was Director of Science Analysis and Mission Planning during the Viking operations.
In addition to his engineering work, Gentry Lee has been an active novelist, television producer, and media columnist. Between 1989 and 1994 Mr. Lee co-authored four novels with revered science fiction grandmaster Arthur C. Clarke. All four books were New York Times bestsellers and were translated into over twenty languages. Since then Mr. Lee has written three more successful solo novels.
From 1976 until 1981 Mr. Lee was the late Carl Sagan's partner in the creation, design, development, and implementation of COSMOS, a science documentary series for television that won several Emmys and the prestigious Peabody Award. COSMOS was the most successful nonfiction documentary of its time, eventually being shown in over sixty different countries.
Mr. Lee received the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement in 1976 and the Distinguished Service Medal (NASA's highest award) in 2005. In October 2006 he received the prestigious Harold Masursky Award from the American Astronomical Society's Division of Planetary Sciences for his career contributions to planetary exploration.
Gentry Lee received a B. A., Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Texas at Austin in 1963 and an M. S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964. He then attended the University of Glasgow in Scotland on a Marshall Fellowship for one year. Mr. Lee (65) has seven sons—Cooper (30), Austin (27), Robert (21), Patrick (20), Michael (18), Travis (16), and Hunter (13).