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LIVE FROM MARS: lfm

Jeff Plescia
Research Scientist
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

During my tenure at the USGS, I began working with Gene Shoemaker on impact craters. My interest has been conducting gravity surveys over large craters to determine their structure. Over the last few years, I've worked on numerous craters in Australia, in the Canadian arctic, and in the U. S. This research has involved some fun field trips to exotic places!

The flight project work involves developing the science requirements for the overall Mars Surveyor Program, developing science objectives for specific missions, understanding the requirements that the science instruments impose on spacecraft and trying to maximize the science return from a given mission within the constraints of time, money and hardware. The planning for human missions to Mars involves understanding what we need to know about the martian environment to safely land the crew (things like the surface radiation environment, to the chemistry of the soil, to the number of large rocks that could interfere with landing) and to plan for the science that the crew will do when they are there. Hopefully humans will visit Mars in the 2015 time frame, probably too late for me to go!

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