Matt Golombek
Project Scientist, Mars Pathfinder
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Who I Am
As the Mars Pathfinder project scientist, I am in charge of the overall science content of the mission and in making sure the science teams are organized to plan for and receive and analyze the data after landing. Up-front, I argue for making sure that the science stays on the mission so that we're doing something interesting and useful. I need to make sure the team is poised and ready with the proper people in it to be able to analyze that data in a quickly and efficient manner. And for Pathfinder, most importantly, to decide what to do with the rover each day.

How I Got to Where I Am
I originally thought being a geologist was neat because you didn't have to work in the office and because you could understand why mountains were mountains and valleys were valleys. I got interested in geology in college; I thought it would be a interesting thing to go into. I took my first class and that was pretty neat. I took my second class and I thought it was the worst thing I ever signed up for! So I got out of geology and took a whole bunch of liberal arts, theater and art classes and decided those were even worse! So, I got back into geology! I looked at planetary geology and thought that was kind of neat because it's "space stuff" and because it had real surfaces and real rocks.

I got my undergraduate degree in geology from Rutgers College in 1976 and my Master's and Ph.D. degrees in geology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1978 and 1981. I was also a post-doctoral fellow at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston from 1981-1983, after which I joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a research scientist. I've worked on a variety of Mars developmental project studies and have been the Pathfinder project scientist since its inception in 1993.

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