NASA Statement on the Departure of JPL Director Michael Watkins

JPL Director Michael Watkins

Former JPL Director Michael Watkins. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on the departure of Michael Watkins, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California:

“Under Mike’s leadership, JPL has accomplished some of NASA’s most inspiring science missions, launching and landing the InSight and Perseverance missions on Mars, the first flight on another planet, and giving humanity an unprecedented understanding of our own planet with the Earth ECOSTRESS, Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3, GRACE Follow-On, and Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich. During his tenure, Mike embodied JPL’s motto, ‘Dare Mighty Things,’ and I wish him all the best in his next endeavor, sharing his understanding of the universe with and helping shape the next generation of scientists and engineers at Caltech.”

JPL is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California. For information about NASA JPL’s missions, discoveries, and activities, visit