Steven W. Squyres, the Cornell University astronomy professor who served as principal investigator of NASA’s overachieving Mars Exploration Rover mission, will succeed Kenneth Ford as chairman of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC), the U.S. space agency announced Nov. 2.

“I am extremely pleased that Steve has accepted the NAC chairmanship,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. “His experience as a planetary science researcher with many NASA robotic missions will be of great value to the council.”

Although not mentioned in NASA’s announcement, Squyres recently served as chairman of the National Research Council’s Planetary Science Decadal Survey, which published a 10-year plan for NASA’s Planetary Science Division in March.

In addition to his role on the Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Squyres is a co-investigator on the Mars Express mission and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

He previously served on the NAC during the 1990s.