Mason Starr
Missions Operations Specialist

I am a spacecraft operator, researcher, and lifelong-student striving to enable interplanetary science missions . I am fueled by a passion for space exploration and a calling to become a leader in the space community. Currently, I operate the Mastcam imagers aboard the Curiosity Mars rover and develop tools to make tactical rover operations more efficient.

Mission Operations
Data Analysis
Remote Sensing
GUI Development
Science Communication
Programming Langauges
Wolfram Mathematica
Shell Scripting
Command Line
Western Washington University
Sept. 2015 to June 2019
B.S. Physics
Magna cum laude. Minors in Math and Astronomy. Emphasis on Remote Sensing and Planetary Science.
Malin Space Science Systems
San Diego, CA
Missions Operations Specialist
Nov. 2019 to Current

  • Operate Mastcam multispectral imager aboard the Curiosity Mars rover on a tactical timeline
  • Work with other instrument teams to plan rover activities
  • Develop tools and scripts to aid in tactical and strategic operations
  • Collaborate with Mars Science Laboratory science team to fulfill science requests
  • Validated data for calibration of Mastcam-Z instrument aboard Mars 2020 rover

Western Washington University
Physics and Astronomy Department
Lab Assistant
Fall 2016 to Spring 2017

  • Taught introductory mechanics, optics, and electromagnetism
  • Instructed weekly lab sessions, graded work, and held office hours
  • Lead learning experience of 12-30 students without supervision of professor

Rowing Coach
Bellingham, WA
Whatcom Rowing Association
June 2018 to Sept. 2018, June 2019 to Aug. 2019

  • Coached and coordinated training plans and races for athletes aged 30-80
  • Provided leadership and management tailored to needs of team

Sammamish, WA
Sammamish Rowing Association
June 2016 to Sept. 2016, June 2017 to Sept. 2017

  • Lead learning experience of new and experienced rowers - over 100 a day
  • Effectively taught all ages and abilities: middle school, high school, adult, and people with physical and metal disabilities

Western Washington University MarsLab
Fall 2016 to June 2019

I researched at the Western Washington University Marslab with Dr. Melissa Rice. My work primarily involved VNIR spectroscopy, data analysis, and image analysis on data acquired by Mastcam instrument aboard NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. Specific projects and publications are detailed below.

Mastcam Spectral Database
Winter 2016 to June 2019

Assembled a database of spectral end members extracted from images taken by the Curiosity rover's Mastcam instrument.

Mastcam Spectral Plotter
Fall 2017 to June 2019

Developed a program that queries the Mastcam Spectral Database to analyze spectral data and create publication quality plots.

WWU VNIR Spectral Database
Fall 2016 to June 2019

Formatted and uploaded spectral data to aid in the development of a public spectroscopy database.

  • Methodology for the Creation and Analysis of a Comprehensive Mastcam Multispectral Database of Curiosity's Traverse. (2019, Conference Abstract)

  • Mars through the Curiosity Rover’s Eyes: A Comprehensive Mastcam Database. (2019, Presentation, Western Washington University)
  • Methodology for the Creation and Analysis of a Comprehensive Mastcam Multispectral Database of Curiosity's Traverse. (2019, Presentation, 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference)
  • Development of a Mastcam Multispectral Database and Some Initial Results. (2018, Presentation, MSL Team Meeting, Caltech campus)
  • A Comprehensive Mastcam Database. (2018, Presentation, Astro NWxSW Conference)
  • I am a coauthor on three journal papers (one accepted, two in review) and six conference abstracts. See my CV for complete citations.

WWU College of Science and Engineering · Elwha Undergraduate Research Award
Apr. 2018

After a rigorous application process, a committee selected one student from the college of science and engineering to receive a stipend funding full time summer research.

Western Washington University · Scholarships

  • Dr. Willard A and Anne Brown Scholarship, twice received July 2017 and July 2018
  • WWU Physics Departmental Scholarship, July 2016 
  • Western Scholars Award, July 2015.

Western Washington University Men's Rowing · Rower, Website Manager
June 2015 to May 2019

  • Demonstrate commitment to a team and pursuit of a common goal
  • Daily 5 a.m. practices; spend 25 hours a week training
  • Have competed at regional, state, and national level