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Photo of W. Bruce Banerdt
   W. Bruce Banerdt

Mars Global Surveyor

I have been a member of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Science Team and the MGS project science staff since the inception of the mission in 1994, after the demise of Mars Observer. My role on the science team has been to investigate the correlations of the topography and gravity field on a global scale to infer interior structure and lithospheric dynamics (for example, faulting and crustal uplift).

My project role has been to act as a liaison between the project and the MOLA team for design, command, and telemetry issues. This has been a fascinating job, combining both science and engineering. It allowed me (as a space novice) to learn the ins and outs of spacecraft design and operations (and politics!) from a ringside seat.

Mars Observer

I was appointed MO Project Experiment Representative for the Mars Observer Radar Altimeter/Radiometer (MORAR) at the beginning of the project in 1986. After that instrument was dropped in favor of the laser altimeter (MOLA), I transitioned to the new instrument and was selected as a Participating Scientist on the MOLA science team in 1991. Witnessing the loss of this mission was one of the most heartbreaking experiences I have undergone.

W. Bruce Banerdt:
  Background Information
  Contributions to Mars Exploration
  Personal Reflections