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   Ronald Greeley

Mars Exploration (General)

My primary interest in Mars is to understand the geological evolution of its surface. Research is focused on volcanic, wind, and impact-related processes, coupled with geological mapping of Mars, laboratory simulations of processes under martian conditions, and field studies of earth-analogs for Mars. I have chaired or served on numerous NASA and National Academy of Sciences committees charged with crafting plans for the exploration of Mars.

Mars Scout

Contributions to 2007 Mars Scout: Of the four candidate Mars Scout projects, I am a Co-Investigator on two, ARES (Mars airplane, led by Dr. Joel Levine of NASA-Langley Research Center) and SCIM (a sample return from Mars atmosphere), led by Dr. Laurie Leshin of Arizona State University. Both missions, while different, have a very high potential to return new and exiting data from Mars that could not otherwise be obtained.

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Contributions to Mars Exploration Rover mission. As part of the Athena Science Team, I will work within the geology theme group, focusing on wind-related features at the landing sites; in preparation for the mission, all of the wind-related features seen over the candidate sites on images obtained from orbit from the last 34 years have been mapped and analyzed. During the mission, these results will be compared to the features seen from the lander, and as seen from orbit in real time from Mars Express and other orbiters. In addition, I will serve as one of the Chairs for the Athena Science Operations Working Group.

Mars Express

Contribution to Mars Express: This mission grew out of the failed Russian Mars '96 project, on which I was a Co-Investigator on the German Camera System and a U. S. Participating Scientist for the project. With the re-flight by the European Space Agency, much of the original science payload was carried into the Mars Express Project, and my Co-I involvement on the High Resolution Stereo Camera continues. We are currently getting ready for operations, scheduled to begin in late 2003, with routine imaging to begin in early 2004. Specific duties include the identification of targets for volcanic structures, wind-related features, and areas of interest for astrobiology.

Mars Polar Lander

Contribution to Mars Polar Lander: I was a member of the camera science team. Of course, it was an enormous disappointment when the spacecraft failed to land successfully.

Mars Global Surveyor

Contribution to Mars Global Surveyor: as a Guest Investigator, research was conducted with Mars Orbiter Camera images to determine if selected sand dunes are currently active. Although there is some indication of movement on the faces of some dunes, none have been found to have changed significantly, but the study will be continued through data-acquisition by longer-term missions, such as the European Space Agency mission, Mars Express.

Mars Pathfinder

Contribution to Mars Pathfinder: as a Co-Investigator, I was responsible for targeting and analyzing the imaging data for wind-related surface features and processes at the landing site, and for the development of the wind sock experiment attached as part of the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP), carried out by Rob Sullivan. This experiment led to the first-ever measurement of the near-surface boundary layer on Mars, which is critical for understanding how winds move sand and dust.

Viking 1-2

Contribution to Viking: I was a member of the imaging science team for the orbiter, and helped with the selection of the Viking landing sites, for which I received the NASA Public Service Award. Subsequently, the Viking data were used in a wide variety of studies of Mars, including the publication of the global geological map with colleagues from the U. S. Geological Survey and the University of London.

Mariner 8-9

Contribution to Mariner 9: as a Research Scientist at NASA-Ames Research Center, I analyzed Mariner 9 data, mapped the geology of one of the 30 quadrangles for Mars, and established a wind-tunnel facility to simulate sand and dust storms under martian conditions. This facility is still used by the planetary science community, and is operated by Arizona State University.

Ronald Greeley:
  Background Information
  Contributions to Mars Exploration
  Personal Reflections