Center for Earth and Planetary Studies Senior Scientist

Dr. Bruce Campbell received a B.S. in Geophysics in 1986 from Texas A&M University, and a Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics in 1991 from the University of Hawaii. Since 1992 he has been with the Smithsonian’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the National Air and Space Museum, and was department chair from 1998 to 2002 and 2015 to 2019. His research focuses on the surface and subsurface geology of the Moon, Mars, Venus, and the icy moons of the outer planets, resulting in more than 100 scientific publications.

Much of this work uses radar observations with orbiting probes and the giant Arecibo and Green Bank radio telescopes. Radar signals can probe from a few meters to several kilometers below the surface, revealing the events that formed the features we now see. For Venus, radar can penetrate the thick clouds to map the volcanic landscape and watch for changes from possible eruptions. To support future human exploration, radar can illuminate areas near the lunar poles to search for ice, reveal layering in the polar caps of Mars, and identify martian ground ice. Dr. Campbell has led proposal teams for an orbiting radar mission to Mars and co-chaired a 2015 study group for the next Mars orbiter mission.

He is a science team member for the radar sounder instruments on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, and Europa Clipper, co-lead for the imaging radar on the VERITAS mission to Venus, and a team member for the DaVinci mission to Venus.

As part of the National Air and Space Museum, he works to bring the excitement and discoveries of planetary exploration to museum visitors. 

Contact Information (202) 633-2472 Related Links Bruce Campbell CV [PDF Download]
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