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Photo of W. Bruce Banerdt
   W. Bruce Banerdt
   Mars Exploration Rover Project Scientist
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, California
United States Of America
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High School: Taft Union High School, Taft,  CA
BS, Physics, University of Southern California
PhD, Geological Sciences, University of Southern California

Background Information
I grew up in a small oilfield town in central California. Weekends helping my dad fix up run-down houses to sell and summers working in various oilfield and automotive jobs in hundred-degree heat convinced me of the value a desk job relative to manual labor and helped me stick it out through college (although I still fix my own house and cars, only partly from financial necessity). In a doomed attempt to be practical I gave up on my dream of working in the space program early in life, then lucked into a summer job at JPL during graduate school more or less by accident. I’ve been here ever since, working on various geophysical questions on Mars, Venus, and the satellites of Jupiter. My professional dream is to convince NASA (or whoever else might be interested) to land a network of seismic stations on Mars to explore the deep interior of that amazing planet. I have been married to my wife and partner, Mavonwe, for over 30 years and have four fascinating children who generously provide me with windows into the worlds of classical music and environmental protection.

Contributions to Mars Exploration

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). [more contributions ...]
Personal Reflections

My personal opinion is that the more physics you know, the better off you will be. Other than that, make yourself interesting. It might not help you get the job you want, but your life will be a lot more fun. [more personal reflections ...]