Stephanie '08 '13 and Rigel '07 '10

Rigel and I met in 2005 while working on the Phoenix Mars Mission that was being run at the UA. We both grew up on the east side of Tucson and were both undergraduates in Optical Sciences. However, it took a Mars mission for us to meet and become friends. 

We'd spend long days and nights working together on campus. He was a year ahead of me in Optics so he would also occasionally help me study. After Phoenix landed on Mars, we both spend the next six months sitting side by side controlling cameras on Mars. They were long days and nights. 

For the mission, we had to work on "Mars" time. Mars has a longer day then Earth, so we had to go to work at all hours. However, he was always there ready to make me laugh and keep me awake at 2 a.m. During that time, everyone around us could see that we had become more than just friends but it took us a little longer to realize what had happened. 

We really were no longer just good friends. By the end of the mission in 2008, we were dating and a year and a half later we were married.

Happily married for almost four years now, we now spend our weekends at UA football games or watching UA basketball instead of running cameras on Mars. However, we will never forget those days and nights on the UA campus and how we found each other.


- Stephanie Barnes '08 '13