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Distributed January 6, 2004
Contact Ricardo Howell



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News Advisory
Brown planetary geologists play major role in space exploration

During the last several decades, geological scientists from Brown University have played significant roles in space science, participating in the design and implementation of voyages to Mars, the Earth’s moon, Venus, Jupiter and its moons, and asteroids.


PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Since the first U.S. mission to land on another planet, Viking 1 and 2, produced the first images of the surface of Mars in 1976, scientists from Brown Universityís Geological Sciences department have made notable contributions toward space exploration and research.

Current Brown researchers who have been significantly involved in both U.S. and international space missions include James W. Head III, Takahiro Hiroi, John Mustard, Carle Pieters and Peter Schultz. They are available for interview regarding their areas of research and mission expertise and for general questions regarding current space science explorations by contacting Ricardo Howell in the Brown News Service (401 863-2476).

James W. Head III

Head’s research interests include planetary evolution and the formation and evolution of planetary crusts. He is involved in the Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Express mission, both orbiting the planet, and Mercury Messenger, launching this spring to gather data from Venus and Mercury. He worked in astronaut training, site selection and mission operations during the Apollo Lunar Exploration Program.

Takahiro Hiroi

Hiroi’s research interests include mineralogy and spectroscopy of meteorites and asteroids. He is involved in the current Japanese Hayabusa mission, launched in 2003, which will rendezvous with an earth-approaching asteroid during 2005 to analyze its composition. Hiroi is also involved in Japan’s Selene mission to study the surface of the Earth’s moon, scheduled to launch in 2006.

John Mustard

Mustard’s research interests include the interaction between interior and exterior processes on planetary surfaces. His space mission involvements include the current Mars Express and the planned Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, launching in 2005 to take high-resolution images and mineralogy data of the planet’s surface.

Carle Pieters

Pieters’ research interests include the Moon and the origin and evolution of Earth-like planets, using a variety of spectroscopic techniques to extract compositional information. Her mission involvements include Dawn, launching in 2006 to examine two protoplanets (asteroids) in the zone between Mars and Jupiter.

Peter Schultz

Schultz’s research interests include the study of impact processes and the examination of impact craters on the surfaces of Venus and Earth. His mission involvements include Deep Impact, which will launch in December 2004 and will collide in 2005 with a comet orbiting our solar system to examine material as old as the solar system itself.

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