Matt is a planetary geologist who has been involved with the exploration and scientific investigation of Mars using data returned from numerous spacecraft for the past decade, including the cameras onboard the Mars Odyssey (MO) satellite with Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) and the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) with the Panoramic Camera (Pancam). Most recently he joined the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team which is onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). He provides mission support by processing new images and data analysis from these cameras in an attempt to better understand the red planet. Additionally, he works with camera payload upload leads in targeting specific sites of geologic interest for his own investigations. His recent research has focused on the geologic, morphologic, and climatic evolutions of Mars.
HiRISE team member Matt Chojnacki tells us about the discovery and formation of these mysterious features forming on Mars in the present day.
The President's proposed 2013 NASA budget calls for deep cuts to the nation's very successful planetary science program. These cuts not only threaten the future of planetary science, but also impact our ability to conduct deep space missions. As the next generation of planetary scientists, the graduate student community is deeply concerned about the ramifications of these budget cuts, and we must voice our concerns to policymakers in Washington, D.C.