Just reaching Mars with successful twin flights marked a major scientific and engineering achievement. The research that followed—most notably the confirmation that water once flowed on Mars—makes these unmanned explorations as significant as any exploration on planet Earth. As remarkable is the endurance of the two rovers, vehicles designed to perform for the equivalent of 90 Martian days. Yet, more than two years after first setting off for the fourth planet from the Sun, the rovers continue to explore the landscape of Mars.
The Society’s 2006 Distinguished Explorer Award was presented on Friday, February 10 at Beloit College, alma mater of Andrews. During the 1920s Beloit-born explorer Roy Chapman Andrews earned international fame for leading a series of expeditions to the Gobi Desert of Mongolia and China, terrain arguably as hostile, remote, and challenging to explore then as Mars is today.
Dr. Squyres is a Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University. Research for which he is best known includes study of the history and distribution of water on Mars, and of the possible existence of a liquid water ocean on Europa.
He received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1981 and spent 5 years as a postdoctoral associate and research scientist at NASA Ames Research Center before returning to Cornell as a faculty member. He was an associate of the Voyager imaging team for the encounters with Jupiter and Saturn, and a guest investigator on the Magellan mission to Venus.