GENESEO — The SUNY Geneseo Geological Department and American Rock Salt have partnered in a lecture series since 2003 and this year they bring Dr. Matt Golombeck, a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and a veteran of space missions to Mars.
According to a press release from the SUNY Geneseo College Communications Office, Golombeck will deliver the Fifteenth Annual American Rock Salt lecture in Geology March 29 at 7:30 p.m. in Newton Hall Room 202 where he will address “How to Select a Landing Site on Mars.”
“We’re delighted that Dr. Golombek is coming to campus to discuss one of the most exciting space exploration projects of our time,” said Nick Warner, assistant professor of geological sciences at Geneseo, who collaborated with Dr. Golombek to select the landing site for the 2018 Insight mission to Mars. “Matt has led the landing site characterization and selection process for every landed mission to Mars since Pathfinder, which launched in 1996. His unique expertise and background in geology has been critical to the Mars Exploration Program.”
Golombek is leading the landing site selection efforts for the InSight geophysical lander scheduled to launch in May 2018 and the Mars 2020 Rover scheduled to collect a cache of samples for eventual return to Earth. In addition, he is the JPL Mars Exploration Program landing site scientist and is currently the project scientist for the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. He also is a science operations team chair for the Opportunity Rover now exploring the red planet.
Golombek’s research focuses on mars geology in general and the prediction of surface characteristics at a lander scale from orbital remotely sensed data. He has published more than 160 papers in scientific journals and 500 abstracts. He received his doctorate in geology/geophysics at the University of Massachusetts.
The SUNY Geneseo Department of Geological Science has been partners with the American Rock Salt Company LLC since 2003, as the first American Rock Salt Lecture on Geology was held in 2004. Through the partnership, the American Rock Salt Company LLC offers support to Geneseo not only through the annual lecture but also through undergraduate research and an undergraduate internship, where Geneseo students can intern at American Rock Salt and tour the extensive mine.