Matthew Golombek of the Mars Pathfinder Mission
Speaks at Middlebury College

Matthew Golombek, Ph.D., the head of NASA’s Mars Pathfinder scientific
team, visited Middlebury College this week to speak about “The
Mars Pathfinder Mission: Roving for Rocks on the Red Planet.”

Dr. Golombek discussed scientific objectives and investigations
of the mission. He also explained how scientists are able to
learn about rocks they cannot directly see and touch, and described
the difficulties of driving a rover remotely, from tens of millions
of miles away.

Mars Pathfinder, one of NASA’s quickly assembled, low-cost projects
that is classified as a Discovery mission, successfully landed
on the surface of Mars on July 4, 1997. Pathfinder deployed and
navigated a small rover, Sojourner, and both machines continue
to collect and transmit scientific data as they have for over
two months. To date, more than two billion pieces of new data
have been collected, including over 12,000 Pathfinder and 400
Sojourner images, and six and a half million temperature, pressure,
and wind measurements.

Matthew Golombek is the Mars Pathfinder project scientist and
a research scientist in the Earth and Space Sciences Division
of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), at the California Institute
of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. JPL is the NASA center for
unmanned planetary exploration. This center manages the overall
Mars Exploration Program and the successful Mars Pathfinder Mission.