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Photo of Michael ('Mike') Malin
   Michael ('Mike') Malin

Mars Scout

I am the Principal Investigator on two proposals that were submitted in response to the 2007 Mars Scout announcement of opportunity. One proposal requests NASA support to fly the MARCI (Mars Color Imager) wide angle camera on the French Mars Orbiter 2007 mission, so that we can study cloud motions from two times of day to track wind motions. The other proposal is to land vehicles on Mars at very specific places to study layered rocks and gullies, following-up on two of the Mars Orbiter Camera's most important discoveries.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

I am the Principal Investigator on the MRO MARCI, a reflight of the wide angle camera that was lost on MCO. I am also the Team Leader for the Context Camera, which will acquire images at a scale of about 6 meters per pixel to provide context for the smaller, but higher-resolution HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) and CRISM (Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer) experiments.

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

I am a Co-Investigator on Steve Squyres' ATHENA science payload.

Mars Odyssey

I am a Co-Investigator on Phil Christensen's THEMIS (Thermal Emission Imaging System) experiment. My company built the visible imaging system (VIS) portion of THEMIS. Before it was canceled, I was the Team Leader for the Descent Imaging Team for the 2001 Lander. My company built that camera under contract to JPL.

Mars Polar Lander

I was the Principal Investigator on the Mars Descent Imager or MARDI. MARDI would have acquired 10-20 images of the surface of Mars from altitudes of about 8 km to about 10 m above the surface, with scales of about 8 m/pixel to about 1 cm/pixel.

Mars Climate Orbiter

I was the Principal Investigator on the Mars Color Imager, or MARCI, a two-camera system designed to observe the color of Mars at a number of wavelengths for atmospheric and surface geology. MARCI's medium angle camera would have acquired 40 m/pixel, 40 km wide swaths in 10 different colors; MARCI's wide angle camera would have acquire daily global images at 7-10 km/pixel in 5 colors in the visible and 2 colors in the ultraviolet (to look for ozone and water vapor processes). My company, Malin Space Science Systems, built the MARCI hardware and wrote the software that ran on the spacecraft computer.

Mars Global Surveyor

I was (and am) the Principal Investigator on the Mars Orbiter Camera (also called MOC), a reflight of the Mars Observer Camera lost when Mars Observer failed three days before reaching Mars in 1993. The MGS MOC has been a remarkable success, finding what appear to be recent gullies, sequences of layered sedimentary rock as large as the Colorado Plateau, and showing many examples of the complexity of Martian geology. The spacecraft and camera completes 5 years of in-orbit operations in September 2002. I am also a Co-Investigator on Phil Christensen's Thermal Emission Spectrometer experiment.

Mars Pathfinder

I was a Participating Scientist on the Patherfinder mission, selected for my expertise in catastrophic floods derived from my research in Iceland. I chaired the Geology Science Operations Group, which had responsibility for planning and evaluating imaging sequences for geology, and providing the Principal Investigator (Peter Smith) with information for directing the overall experiment.

Mars Observer

I was the principal investigator on the Mars Observer Camera (MOC). MOC included three cameras in one: a high resolution (we call it "narrow angle") camera capable of acquiring images at a scale of 1.5 m/pixel and two wide angle cameras (one viewing through a red filter, the other through a blue filter) to monitor global weather.

Viking 1-2

I didn't play an active role during the conduct of the Viking missions, but afterwards I co-authored a scientific paper on the landing sites (with Robert Sharp of Caltech).

Mariner 8-9

I began my graduate studies at Caltech right after the launch of Mariner 9. During the summer of 1971, I worked with mission designer Norm Haines on designing initial imaging sequences to match his mission design. When the spacecraft got to Mars, there was a global dust storm, so our work didn't really matter. I worked in the Space Flight Operations Center logging in pictures over the Christmas holidays, when the first images with decipherable features were received. I continued to help plan images until the spacecraft ran out of attitude control gas during the summer of 1972. All three chapters of my Ph.D. dissertation were based on my studies of Mars using Mariner 9 images.

Michael ('Mike') Malin:
  Background Information
  Contributions to Mars Exploration
  Personal Reflections