Episode 12: John Grotzinger ’79, Sc.D. ’13
While on campus for a public lecture, geologist and project scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory John Grotzinger ’79, Sc.D. ’13 sat down for a Pulteney Street Podcast interview with President Joyce P. Jacobsen. Grotzinger shared the highlights of the NASA Curiosity rover mission and reflected on the summer research he undertook as an HWS student, the co-evolution of Earth’s biology and environment, and whether or not humans might one day live on Mars.
As the mission leader and project scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory, Grotzinger guided the team that landed NASA’s Curiosity rover, discovering organic molecules and evidence of an ancient Martian lake, and made history when he confirmed the presence of an environment that could have supported microbial life.
Continuing his involvement with the NASA mission, Grotzinger currently serves as the Fletcher Jones Professor of Geology at the California Institute of Technology, where he also is the Ted and Ginger Jenkins Leadership Chair for the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences. An eminent geologist with wide-ranging interests in sedimentary processes, geobiology and Earth’s early history, Grotzinger has been elected into the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist.