Michael Hecht


Co-Investigator, MECA Lead, Material Properties,
Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Michael Hecht

Michael Hecht graduated from Princeton University in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science in Physics, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976 with a Master of Science in Physics, and from Stanford University in 1982 with a PhD in Applied Physics.

A physicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Michael Hecht at various times worked on semiconductor surface and interface science, planetary science, MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems), and scientific instrument development. In 1998 he became Project Manager and a co-investigator for the Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment, a soil analysis payload intended to fly on the cancelled Mars Surveyor Program 2001 Lander. Renamed the Microscopy, Electrochemistry, and Conductivity Analyzer, MECA is being adapted for the Phoenix mission with Dr. Hecht as lead co-investigator and Instrument Manager.

Prior to MECA, Dr. Hecht was involved in the original conception of the Deep Space 2 probes that flew in 1999, and led a technology development team for the New Millennium Program that sponsored them. He has designed, built, and operated numerous laboratory instruments for materials analysis, a field in which he has published extensively. He was also the first recipient of JPL's Lew Allen Award for Excellence.

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