Michelle Wright Amos
Michelle Wright Amos and her husband, John D. Amos, were serving in the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when one of her projects from her former employment made history.
John D. Amos presides over the mission and his wife, Sister Michelle Amos, serves as his companion. For almost a year prior she worked on the Mars 2020 rover as a systems engineer. But before the Perseverance rover launched on July 30, 2020, Sister Amos had begun her service as a missionary and could not attend its launch, although she could view it through NASA Live. When it landed on Mars on February 18, President and Sister Amos and their 200-plus missionaries watched via Zoom technology.
Michelle was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and earned her bachelor’s degree from Southern University and her master’s degree in engineering management at the University of Central Florida before embarking on a 30-year career working at NASA and the John F. Kennedy Space Center. She was part of the team of engineers assigned to the Mars 2020 rover. The Perseverance rover became NASA’s fifth rover to land on Mars.
- “We tested that system over and over. We knew that it would land correctly. But that’s a simulation,” she said. “It’s a whole different story when you are in the Martian atmosphere. All the projections for wind, temperature and gravity that helped you to be successful using flight software on Earth — it’s got to work in a Martian atmosphere. That’s the nail-biting part of it.”
According to the Deseret News, Sister Amos had informed the Jet Propulsion Laboratory communications director of their planned missionary watch party and she was sent Mars 2020 rover stickers for each of her missionaries. After the landing, the missionaries were allowed to share their feelings via Zoom. “They linked the spiritual knowledge to the secular knowledge and faith to science,” Sister Amos said. “We’ve inspired some engineers out there and folks that want to work for NASA. ... I think we made some good mileage with our missionaries and helped them to want to be inspired. ... They will be recording this in their journals.”
- The Amoses also shared scriptural insights about the creation and the stars and connected them to Jesus Christ. Watching the landing strengthened their faith, she said.
“I’m still amazed at what we just watched,” Sister Amos said. “I never expected it would have this impact but God knew. I feel blessed to be an instrument in his hands and serve the Lord.”
Both the Amoses are converts to the Church of Jesus Christ. She was baptized at age 11. Their first date was her invitation to him to attend an event at her Church. He was baptized his senior year at Southern University. She has also served as stake Primary president, ward Relief Society president and Young Women president, Sunday School teacher, gospel doctrine teacher, stake Young Women secretary, and Cub Scout leader.
They married in 1990 and are the parents of three children.