Steve Lee
Hubble Space Telescope Mars Team, Surface Expert
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
University of Colorado, Boulder


I was in elementary school during the early days of manned and planetary space exploration. My parents and teachers seemed to understand how interested I was in this -- I would often tell them I was "going to be sick the next day" when a launch was scheduled, and they'd look the other way while I stayed home glued to the TV. I'm sure all this indulgence helped me find the path I followed through school. I also had an uncle who was always letting me read his "National Geographic" collection whenever I visited -- this got me interested in things in our world other than rockets and airplanes.

When I was a senior at Cornell, I did an independent study class on Mars with Prof. Joe Veverka. At that time, about 9000 pictures of Mars had been returned from the Mariner 9 mission; Joe told me to take a few weeks to look at ALL of the pictures as my introduction to Mars. After that, I was hooked! Viking was arriving at Mars just after that school year ended, so the following year I started my transformation from an engineer into a planetary geologist. Joe was a great teacher and he ultimately served as my advisor during graduate school.

More About Me

I grew up in Butte, Montana, then made the big jump to upstate New York during most of my college years. I've been in the Boulder area since 1986. My wife and I decided to get married after we'd gone to Kennedy Space Center to see the space shuttle launch that put HST in orbit; we've been married for six years, and have gone back to KSC for each of the shuttle launches to repair and service HST (sort of a family tradition to see a rocket launch every two years or so...). She's a microbiologist (works in a hospital laboratory in Denver), so we cover all the bases -- from germs to planets! We both enjoy going to movies and plays every week or two. We have two crazy cats -- Zippy and Katmandu. Much of my free time is spent working in our yard and garden -- I guess I'm a farmer at heart!

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