The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced today at their annual Spring Awards Luncheon that The NASA/JPL Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Project Team will receive the 2012 Robert J. Collier Trophy in recognition of the extraordinary achievements of successfully landing Curiosity on Mars, advancing the nation’s technological and engineering capabilities, and significantly improving humanity’s understanding of ancient Martian habitable environments.

The Collier Trophy is awarded annually for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year. The list of Collier winners represents a timeline of air and space achievements, marking major events in the history of flight. (Richard Cook with JPL at right. Photo courtesy of NASAO)

Walter Boyne, Chairman of NAA and Chairman of the Selection Committee said this was the most competitive Collier Selection Process that they have experienced in many years.  “Every nominee came to the committee with significant accomplishments and achievements during the year as well as energized and comprehensive presentations,” said Boyne. “The NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory should be very proud of this achievement.”

Jonathan Gaffney, President and CEO of NAA, managed the selection process.  “We were honored to have an outstanding group of aviation and aerospace experts participate on our Selection Committee and, by their presence and interaction, certainly enhanced the significance and importance of the Collier Trophy. It was an extraordinary day seeing some of the remarkable work going on in aviation and aerospace.”

Other nominees for the 2012 Collier Trophy were: 

The Lockheed Martin Cargo Unmanned Aerial System

The NASA/JPL Dawn Project Team

The Gulfstream G650

The United States Air Force MC-12 Project Liberty Team

Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos Team

The NASA/JPL Voyager Interstellar Mission Project Team

The Collier Trophy will be formally presented at the annual Robert J. Collier Trophy Dinner on Thursday, May 9, 2013, in Arlington, Virginia. For tickets or more information please visit  For a complete list of previous recipients of the Collier Trophy, please visit the NAA website at