George Pace hops on an airport shuttle and the driver asks what he does. Working on a Mars mission, he says, the next Mars mission. “Ohhhh, that’s GOT to work,” the driver tells him, remembering NASA’s embarrassing back-to-back Mars flops in 1999. “Yeah, I think I’ve heard that before,” Pace replies. Weeks later, Pace laughs as he recalls the conversation. He’s admiring the spacecraft that he’s been charged with overseeing, the 2001 Mars Odyssey, scheduled for launch April 7.