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hometown: Toronto, ON, Canada
degree: Ph.D. Planetary Geology Brown University
career: Planetary Geologiest
I have always been interested in science and exploration. As a child, I knew I wanted to be a scientist, but I didnít know what kind. I liked space, I liked physics, I liked the Earth, and I liked computers. So, I floundered around until I met a mentor who introduced me to planetary geology. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. Here was a subject that took advantage of all my interests. I could use computers to analyze the physics of light reflecting off solid Earth-like surfaces in space! I had found my passion. // Since then, I have avidly pursued research in planetary geology. The thing I enjoy most is looking at data from the surface of a planet and trying to figure out how it got that way. I especially like to stack the data, taking a black and white image that shows me the surface features, then overlaying it with colour data that tells me something about the composition of the surface, and then draping all of that on a topography relief surface so that I can see everything as if I am standing right there. I really get a feel for the structures (the impact craters, the mountains, and scarps) this way and I am better able to understand the processes that formed them. // While I find all of the planets interesting, I do tend to focus on the Moon. This is partly because I spent most of my graduate studies working on lunar problems and so, one could say, they have gotten under my skin. However, I also find the Moon fascinating because it is our nearest neighbor in space and is so close. It Is like Earthís sibling, having developed and evolved in the same neighbourhood. But, like siblings, the Earth and the Moon are very different. The Moon, being much smaller than the Earth, cooled down and stopped evolving very early on in the solar systemís history. For this reason, the Moon is a snapshot of what the Earth may have been like about 4 billion years ago. So, by studying the Moon, I am also studying the early history of the Earth at a time when life was just beginning!