I have a staff of three people, all are college students, who help me with the
outreach program. They edit our grades K-8 kids' newsletter, Red Planet Connection, plus
help me with a lot of the creative and fun education work that we do.
My research is mostly about the geology of Mars. I have studied impact craters,
volcanoes, channels and sand dunes on Mars. I contributed to the process of helping the
Mars Pathfinder team select a landing site, and did some research about the Ares Vallis
region that helped in deciding whether to land there. (I didn't pick Ares Vallis though,
I had proposed landing in the Cerberus region south of the Elysium volcanoes. I also
advocated a site in the dark wind streak coming from the crater Trouvelot in western
Besides Mars, I have done research and field work on sand dunes near Moses Lake,
Washington and in Christmas Lake Valley, Oregon. I enjoy doing field work and being out
of the office, but I don't get to do it as often as I'd like.
As I said, I don't have a typical day. Some days, I do research. Other days, I write
articles or visit a classroom. Or I might be travelling. Sometimes I get to do radio
interviews or be on television. One of the television projects I really enjoyed a lot was
done in 1996. I taped six, two-to-three-minute segments about Mars science that aired on
a Saturday morning show for kids called "Whats Up!" The show airs in the Phoenix, Arizona
area on channel 15 (KNXV-TV). I also had a lot of fun in July 1997 as a "Mars Expert"
guest on the cable television network, MSNBC. They had me there for several days to
answer lots of questions about what was happening with Mars Pathfinder.