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Norfolk native plays pivotal role in Mission to Mars

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Posted at 5:05 AM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 08:11:00-05

NORFOLK, Va. - The world watched with amazement when the Mars Perseverance Rover touched down on the red planet in late February.

"Events like the launch when we all get together and we watch the incredible event it really puts it in perspective for me," said Suzie Kellogg.

Kellogg a Norfolk native and a 2013 Maury High School graduate, had a front row seat to history and a hand in the mission.

"It is a little surreal," she told News 3 from Californina.

The 26-year-old grew up in Norfolk, and was a part of the NORSTAR program where her interests in mechanical engineering, STEM and robotics started.

"It was great because, it gave kids access to a lab and allowed them to build electronics to test robots and so much more," she said.

Kellogg later attended Johns Hopkins University and landed a job at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Los Angeles.

She has worked in that lab for three years. She recently played a direct part in the Perseverance's landing. She helped oversee the implantation of one of the rover's smaller robotic arms.

"There is a large arm that collects samples then it transfers it inside to the Rover's smaller arm where it receives a sample packaged in a tube," she said.

The arm is currently collecting microbial samples from Mars that Kellogg will later test and analyze.

"Most of the time you have to step back realize how cool the thing is you are working on," Kellogg stated.

She hopes young girls watching history realize they too can follow their dreams.

"You can do this, there is no reason you can't," she said.