Meet the Ghanaian scientist investigating beneath Mars’ surface

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As a child in Ghana, Dr Ashitey Trebi-Ollenu watched planes take off and was inspired by the possibility of autonomous aircraft.

Now, he’s the innovator robotically deploying and installing landers autonomously on other planets.

Dr Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu is the Product Delivery Manager, for the InSight Mars Mission Instrument Deployment System, Instrument Deployment System operations Team Chief and a technical group lead in the Robotic Manipulation & Sampling group at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, where he has been since 1999.

Dr Trebi-Ollenu was part of a team who helped deploy a lander on the surface of Mars.

Dr Trebi-Ollennu is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, U. K., and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, U.K. Senior Member IEEE RAS and IEEE SMC.

He is also a fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. His current research at JPL focuses on Planetary Rovers, Manipulation, Multiple Mobile Robots (Planetary Outpost), Reconfigurable Robots and Man-machine Interaction. Dr. Trebi-Ollennu’s research has resulted in more than 95 publications.


He holds a PhD in Control Systems Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Royal Military College Science, Cranfield University, U.K. and a B.Eng. in Avionics, Department of Aeronautical Engineering, Queen Mary College, University of London.

Professional Experience

In Dr. Trebi-Ollennu’s 17 year career at JPL he has worked on flight projects, flight projects review boards, mission formulation, technology tasks, writing technology proposals, served as a reviewer for NASA Science Mission Directorate technology proposals and NASA Office of Education proposals.

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