Mission Involvement - Dr. John Grant
As a co-investigator for the HiRISE camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Dr. Grant's responsibilities include identifying potential imaging targets on Mars related to landscape evolution and taking turns at being the targeting lead for planning actual images to be taken of Mars. As targeting lead, much of the image planning is done from offices in the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies in Washington, DC. He also works with other team members to keep track of images that have been taken versus those requested and he collaborates with other HiRISE team members on a variety of ongoing research projects. Dr. Grant has been a member of the HiRISE team since the camera was proposed to NASA in 2001. HiRISE was launched in 2005 and imaging of Mars began in earnest in late 2006.
Dr. Grant came up with the idea to use Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) for planetary applications while using a commercially available instrument in studies of terrestrial craters during completion of his PhD. He subsequently proposed and received funding from two of NASA's instrument development programs to create a new miniature, low power GPR suitable for mounting on future rovers that will operate on the surface of Mars and other planets. As the lead of a larger team, he later wrote a proposal for inclusion of the new planetary GPR, now named Strata, on the Mars Science Laboratory mission to be launched in 2011. Although not selected for that mission, the instrument was highly rated and Dr. Grant plans to compete it to additional opportunities for flight in the future. For more information about the proposed planetary applications of GPR, and specifically related to the Strata proposal, see GPR under summary of projects listing.
Dr. Grant became a member of the Mars Exploration Rovers science team in 2002 when he was appointed as one of the Science Operations Working Group (SOWG) Chairs. As an SOWG Chair, he leads planning of day-to-day science operations on the rover for days he is scheduled. This activity involves bringing the science team to consensus on science observations for a given day and working with the mission uplink team to sequence and uplink relevant commands to the rovers. Early in the mission, Dr. Grant performed these duties while living on "Mars Time" at JPL in Pasadena, CA. His role has since transitioned to leading these planning activities remotely from his office in the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies here in Washington, DC.
Dr. Grant's Homepage