Mike Mellon
Planetary Scientist, Mars Global Surveyor
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California


I went to school at Stockton State College in New Jersey, where I studied mostly physics but also learned about geology and archeology. I even participated in an archeological dig... no bones, just pottery and stone tools. When I neared graduation I made a decision that, although physics was a great deal of fun, I didn't want to do just physics for a living. So I decided to continue in graduate school in planetary science where I could combine physics with geology, chemistry and meteorology. I also decided I wanted to study Mars. I didn't know what about Mars I wanted to know, just that it had to be Mars. So I moved to Colorado to attend graduate school at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where I was able to work with and learn from some rather bright people who also shared in interest in Mars. Eventually, I was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship (a job!) by the National Research Council to continue my study of Mars here at NASA Ames.


Besides working on martian research, I enjoy a number of outdoor hobbies such as hiking, camping, and rock climbing. In the winter I like to cross country ski. In fact I particularly enjoy cold weather, which might be why I am interested in the cold climate of Mars. I also have a cat and several fresh and salt water fish. The cat keeps an eye on the fish for me while I'm at work.


After several years working at NASA Ames Research Center I have moved to a new job back at the University of Colorado. My new job as a research associate involves working with data from the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. In addition to my ongoing research interests in water on Mars and its role in climate and geology (mentioned above), I will also be working with data from the spacecraft trying to understand more about martian soil. Moving to Colorado allows me to work more closely with the new spacecraft data and to live closer to the mountains and in the colder climate that I enjoy. Despite leaving Ames, I am continuing to work with my colleagues there on projects involving Mars, Antarctica and the study of permafrost.

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