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NASA JPL/NSTA Web Seminar Series, Year Two

Paige Graff
Paige Graff Paige Valderrama Graff is the Assistant Director of the ASU Mars Education and Outreach Program within the Mars Space Flight Facility, School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. She received her Bachelor Degree in Education from Indiana University and a Masters Degree in Multi-cultural Education from Northern Arizona University. Paige is the Mars Student Imaging Project Coordinator and also assists in the creation of new Standards-based curriculum that allows educators nationwide to be involved in the exploration of Mars while continuing to meet their educational objectives. Paige taught middle school mathematics for 11 years in Nogales, AZ where she also facilitated a mathematics, engineering, and science program for students and began a community-wide science program. While teaching, Paige was selected to participate in highly competitive NASA workshops, including an international remote sensing workshop held in France. Her position with the ASU Mars Education program allows for her love of teaching and her love of Mars exploration to meld together.


Scott L. Murchie
Scott L. Murchie CRISM Principal Investigator

Where did you grow up?
In Leominster, Massachusetts (a mid-size city in central Mass.).


How did you get interested in space exploration?
Ever since I can remember, I have been interested in stars and science fiction movies. In 2nd grade, I read about astronomy and planets all the time, and was especially interested in Mars.


What's your educational background?
I went to high school in the neighboring city of Fitchburg, MA. I received a B.S. from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, and a Master's Degree in Geology from the University of Minnesota. I thought I was interested in environmental geology until a friend told me about studying the moon during her summer internship. I thought that was so interesting that over the holiday break, I visited Jim Head at Brown University who got me so excited that I switched to planetary geology.


What are your hobbies?
All kinds of gardening--especially native plants. Also, woodworking (when time permits).


What's your job on CRISM?
Everything—whatever it takes to keep things going in a forward direction. It may be setting directions, data analyses, management, documenting data, operations planning, web sites, helping out with anything that needs help and—when I'm lucky—doing science.


What excites you about exploring Mars?
The idea that there might have been life on Mars, and finding the place where it might have been. CRISM points to the best places where to look.


What advice would you give to someone like you who wants to get involved in space exploration?
My advice would be to find what really interests you. If it's science, engineering, computer programming or even medicine, it might have a way to a career in space exploration. Study hard and enjoy! When in college, find out from professors which grad schools are involved in space exploration and try to go to one of those.


Dr. Joshua Bandfield
Dr. Joshua Bandfield Joshua Bandfield is a research specialist at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University. He has a B.S. in Geological Sciences from UC Santa Barbara (1996) and a Ph.D. in Geology from Arizona State (2000). Josh has worked with infrared data from the Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, and Mars Exploration Rover spacecraft to determine Martian surface compositions and atmospheric properties.


Brian Grigsby
Brian Grigsby Brian Grigsby is the Assistant Director of the ASU Mars Education and Outreach Program within the Mars Space Flight Facility, School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. He received his Bachelor Degree in Biology from Humboldt State University and a Masters Degree in Science Education from Chico State University. Brian is the Distance Learning Coordinator for the program and also assists in the creation of new Standards-based curriculum that allows educators nationwide to be involved in the exploration of Mars while continuing to meet their educational objectives. Brian taught high school science for 7 years in Redding, CA, where he was also a planetarium director for 5 years. While teaching, Brian was selected to participate in the highly competitive NASA workshops (NEWMAST).


In 2002, he received an IDEAS grant to develop a Virtual Field Trip with a NASA led expedition to the Licancabur volcano. He was the Education Public Outreach coordinator for that expedition where he spent 26 days in the Andes mountains, transmitting images, videos and stories back to the rural communities of northern California (via the Virtual Field Trip website). This expedition allowed students to communicate directly with scientists that were performing real scientific research. His position with the ASU Mars Education program allows for his love of teaching and his love of Mars exploration to meld together.


Dr. Michael Meyer
Dr. Michael Meyer Dr. Michael Meyer is a Senior Scientist at NASA Headquarters in the Science Mission Directorate. He is the Lead Scientist for the Mars Exploration Program and Program Scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory rover mission, to be launched in 2009. He was the Senior Scientist for Astrobiology and Program Scientist for the 2001 Mars Odyssey. The Astrobiology Program, started with him as the Discipline Scientist, is dedicated to the study of the life in the universe. He has managed NASA's Exobiology Program and was also the Planetary Protection Officer for NASA. He has been an assistant research professor at the Desert Research Institute, University of Nevada, and has served as associate director and in research for the Polar Desert Research Center, Florida State University. In 1982, he was a visiting research scientist at the Culture Centre for Algae and Protozoa in Cambridge, England. Dr. Meyer's interest is in microorganisms living in extreme environments and he has conducted field research in the Gobi Desert, Negev Desert, Siberia, the Canadian Arctic, and Antarctica. Dr. Meyer earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in Oceanography, Texas A&M University, and B.S. in Biology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Dr. Philip R. Christensen
Philip R. Christensen Philip R. Christensen is a Regents Professor and the Ed and Helen Korrick Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. He completed his Ph.D. in Geophysics and Space Physics at UCLA in 1981. His research interests focus on the composition, physical properties and processes, and morphology of planetary surfaces, with an emphasis on Mars and the Earth. A major element of his research has been the design and development of spacecraft infrared remote sensing instruments. Christensen is the Principal Investigator for the 2001 Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) instrument, and the Thermal Emission System (TES) instrument on Mars Global Surveyor. He is also a Co-Investigator on the Mars Exploration Rover missions, responsible for building and operating the Mini-TES instruments. His research uses infrared spectroscopy, radiometry, laboratory spectroscopic measurements, field observations, and numerical modeling, and has taken him to field sites in the western U.S., Hawaii, Mexico, and South America.


Since the mid-1990's he has pursued the use of spacecraft observations to study environmental and urban development problems on Earth. Christensen was awarded NASA's Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal in 2003 for his pioneering scientific observations of Mars in the infrared, and was elected as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2004.


Kobie Boykins
Kobie Boykins Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Kobie Boykins graduated Cum Laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York before becoming a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. Boykins has worked on projects from Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rovers to Ocean Surface Topography Mission over his ten years at the lab. He was involved in the NANOROVER/MUSES-CN microver technology and flight task and has worked many pre-proposal and proposals as a member of Team X. Boykins served as the CogE of the Mars Exploration Rover’s Solar Array Mechanisms and Structures and as a member of the ATLO team. Boykins is currently a technical group supervisor, leading the mobility and mechanisms group.


Dr. Jack D. Farmer
Dr. JackFarmer Jack Farmer received degrees in Geology and Paleobiology from California State University, Chico (B.A.), the University of Kansas (M.S.) and U.C. Davis (Ph.D.) and has held positions as Senior Museum Scientist and Lecturer (U. C. Davis, 1972-1977), Senior Petroleum Geologist (Exxon, Western Division Production, Los Angeles, 1978-1984), and a Visiting Professorship in the Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences at UCLA (1985-1990). Jack spent 1991-93 at NASA-Ames Research Center as a National Research Council Senior Postdoctoral Fellow, becoming a Civil Servant and Research Scientist in the Exobiology Branch there in 1994. In August, 1998, Jack joined the faculty of Arizona State University as Full Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences. His research interests include early biosphere evolution, the microbiology, paleontology and biosedimentology of extreme environments, early evolution of multicellular life, and strategies to explore for a past or present life elsewhere in the Solar System. He is on the editorial board of "The Astrobiology Journal", "The International Journal of Astrobiology" and "Geobiology", and is active in the Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, and the Paleontological Society. He has held appointments as a member of NASA's Space Sciences Advisory Council and past Chair of the Mars Exploration Program Advisory Group. He was a member of NASA's Solar System Exploration Roadmap Development Team, the Mars 2001 and 2005 Science Definition Teams and the Mars 2003 Site Selection Advisory Group.


Dr. Farmer is presently a member of the National Research Council's Space Studies Board where he is helping to formulate national space policy. He directs ASU's Astrobiology Program and was a member of the Executive Council of NASA's Astrobiology Institute from 1998 to 2003. He is participating scientist on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, which is still exploring the red planet and is a team member for the Mars Science Laboratory Mission (MSL), which will be launched in 2009. He and his wife, Maria, live in Scottsdale (AZ) and are proud parents to their son, Brett Matthew and daughter, Bethany Rose. Jack loves music and art and when not working, loves to relax with his guitar, sketch pad and camera.


Dr. Jim Rice
Dr. Jim Rice Dr. Jim Rice received his BS degree in Geology from the University of Alabama. Dr. Rice says the reason he wanted to study geology was because he ultimately wanted to learn about the geology of other planets, especially Mars. He was the only person in the Geology Department who was interested in Astrogeology, most were interested in Petroleum Geology and working for Oil Companies. Dr. Rice then went to Northeast Louisiana University for his MS degree and did detailed geologic mapping of a region that contained evidence of enormous floods and possible lakes on Mars. He was also accepted for an Astrogeology Internship position at the United States Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona during this time. This job enabled him to meet and work with some of the leading Astrogeologists in the world.


Dr. Rice obtained his Ph.D. at Arizona State University where he specialized in the study of the geomorphology of the channels and landforms on Mars. While working on his Ph.D., he was invited by NASA to go on a 6 month long joint expedition to Antarctica with the Russians. This expedition allowed him to go and explore the last frontier on the surface of the Earth. Dr. Rice says it was one of the most exciting times of his life and perhaps as close as he will ever get to going to Mars. He still continues to go on science expeditions to Mars-like places around the world like Iceland and Devon Island in the High Arctic. He also worked on Mars Polar Lander which unfortunately crashed on Mars back in December 1999.


Dr. Rice presently works at the Mars Space Flight Facility located at Arizona State University. He works on the THEMIS camera onboard Mars Odyssey. He targets the cameras, takes pictures of Mars and then analyzes the images for future landing sites and geologic studies to help us better understand the red planet. Recently he has been doing work as a Science Team Member on both Mars Exploration Rovers.


Greg Mehall
Greg Mehall Greg Mehall has 20 years of engineering experience with space flight missions including both flight hardware development and mission operations. He is currently a research specialist in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at the Arizona State University Mars Space Flight Facility. Since 1992 he has been the instrument manager, systems engineer, and mission manager for the Mars Observer and Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometers (TES), the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS), and the Mars Exploration Rovers Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometers (Mini-TES) science investigations. As the instrument manager and systems engineer, he is responsible for the design, fabrication, testing and spacecraft integration activities for these instruments at Raytheon, Lockheed Martin Astronautics and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. As mission manager, he manages the daily mission operations activities for these experiments from the ASU and JPL Mars Space Flight Facilities. During the 5 years prior to his employment at ASU, he was an integral member of the engineering team that designed and built the ASU instruments at Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. His fields of expertise include electronics, optics, and systems engineering. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science degree in electro-optical engineering from Stanford University.


David Delgado
David Delgado David Delgado is an outreach coordinator for NASA's Mars Public Engagement Team and works as the Imagine Mars creative lead. The Imagine Mars Project cosponsored by NASA and the National Endowment for the Arts is a national arts, sciences and technology education initiative, bringing together schoolchildren, scientists and civic leaders to design a sustainable Mars community for 100 people. Understanding the health of their own community becomes the students’ primary research goal. Adapting these elements to the environment of Mars becomes their creative challenge. Students then tell their community story through the arts. There have been murals, digital stories, modern dance performances, architecture projects and public garden designs, to name a few.


David has a unique combination of skills to bring Imagine Mars to life. A native of Santa Barbara, CA, he majored in anthropology at UCLA. After teaching English in South America for two years, Delgado came back to Southern California and graduated from Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design. After working as art director at several advertising agencies in Los Angeles, he arrived at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2005.


Stephenie Lievense
Stephenie Lievense Stephenie Lievense has been a member of the Mars Public Engagement Team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2001. Lievense leads the Imagine Mars Project, a national art, science, and education initiative that invites students to reflect on their home communities, explore the planet Mars, and design a futuristic Martian community that reflects the art, science, and cultural elements they value. Lievense is committed to providing role models for young men and women interested in science and engineering, and has produced a series of Web casts titled, “Women Working on Mars.” These Web casts highlight young engineers and scientists who work on Mars missions. Lievense received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana University and her elementary education credential from California State University, Los Angeles.


Dr. Steve Ruff
Dr. Steve Ruff Dr. Steve Ruff is a Faculty Research Associate in the School of Earth and Space Exploration’s Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University (ASU). He has a bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His graduate research was performed at ASU under the guidance of Dr. Phil Christensen, the principal investigator responsible for four infrared instruments that have been sent to Mars. Following the completion of his Ph.D in 1998, Dr. Ruff continued as a post doctoral researcher, investigating the geology of Mars using infrared spectral data. Now with a faculty research appointment, Dr. Ruff remains actively involved in Mars exploration and is a member of the Mars rover science team.




For more information contact webseminars@nsta.org


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