On Friday, Del. Gov. Jack Markell named Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, the Vice President for Research at Delaware State University, the state’s first-ever “Ambassador to Mars,” in recognition of his achievements and role in the launch of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory planned for Nov. 25 in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
“As Delaware’s new Ambassador to Mars, we would very much appreciate it if you could let any Martian tourists or investors know that Delaware is conveniently located on the East Coast with a great port, strong community, excellent workforce and top-notch research facilities,” wrote Markell in a letter to Dr. Melikechi. “We have beautiful beaches, important historic sites and, of course, tax-free shopping.”
Melikechi is also Delaware State’s Dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural History and Technology.
“We are so proud to see your research featured so prominently. While we are joking today about what might be out there, the hard work you are doing right here in Delaware is having a dramatic impact,” wrote Markell. “We appreciate your commitment to scientific excellence, your significant contributions to our state’s reputation as a cradle of innovation, and the esteem your work is bringing to the First State.”
And Dr. Melikechi will be bringing something from his home state with him to Cape Canaveral -- a copy of the First State's new travel guide. "Melikechi will bring a paper copy in case Martian operating systems are not compatible with our technology," the Governor's office said.