Geosciences Alumnus Matt Golombek to Talk on Selecting Mars Landing Sites

Matt Golombek

Alumnus Matt Golombek, senior research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will speak on “How to Select a Landing Site on Mars” on Friday, Oct. 3 at 3:30 p.m. in the Marriott Room on the 11th floor of the Campus Center as part of the Geosciences Department’s Alumni Reunion.

Golombek, who received his M.S. in 1978 and his Ph.D. in 1981, is being honored by the Geosciences Department as this year’s distinguished alumnus.

He has led or been heavily involved in the selection of every successful Mars landing site during the past 20 years and is the JPL Mars exploration program landing site scientist. He is currently the project scientist of NASA’s Mars Exploration rover mission and is a science operations team chair for the Opportunity rover now exploring the Red Planet. Golombek is leading the landing site selection efforts for the InSight geophysical lander scheduled to launch in 2016 and the Mars 2020 Rover scheduled to collect a cache of samples for eventual return to Earth.

Golombek’s research focuses on Mars geology in general and the prediction of surface characteristics at a lander scale from orbital remotely sensed data. Golombek has published more than 150 papers in scientific journals and 470 abstracts. He was the chief scientist for the Mars Pathfinder Mission, which successfully landed a spacecraft and the Sojourner rover on Mars on July 4, 1997.

Seating is limited to 150.