Photo of Elsa Jensen

Elsa Jensen

Malin Space Science Systems

Elsa Jensen is the Uplink Operations Lead for the Mastcam-Z investigation for the Mars 2020 mission’s Perseverance rover. That means she leads the  team that is tasked with actually commanding the Mastcam-Z cameras to shoot and return to Earth exactly the right Mars images with the Mastcam-Z zoom cameras.  That’s a big responsibility, but thankfully she and her team have trained for many years to do this job.  Elsa knew she wanted to be an engineer and work in space from a young age, but in her native country of Denmark there was no space program and no such education available.   So, she came to the US to pursue her dream and received her B.S in Systems Engineering in 1993 and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from UCSD in 1994.  Elsa started working at MSSS on her first space mission, the Mars Global Surveyor, in 1998 and she hasn’t looked back since.  She is stoked to have worked on MGS, MRO, MSL, JUNO and now Mars2020.  She does have to pinch herself on a regular basis that she gets to do this for a living and she thoroughly enjoys both the fun and challenges inherent in her job.  She has two teenage sons and loves to talk to students and the public about space, and especially about our Mars cameras and images.