Mars job thrills, tires `Tommy Test Tubes’ The Birmingham News

Birmingham’s link to Mars has been a bit tired lately, what with helping control two rovers 48 million miles away. “I’m 64 years of age and I’ve never worked so hard in my life,” said Thomas J. Wdowiak, a University of Alabama at Birmingham astrophysicist who has helped guide the Mars mission from NASA’s Pasadena, Calif., Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Wdowiak, also known as “Tommy Test Tubes” on the Kid’s Page of The Birmingham News, has spent time over the past few months analyzing why the Mars dirt is crunchy, studying small round BB-size granules and figuring out why Mars is the color it is.