The man who watches Mars

November 19, 2015
Paul Bernard

The University of Florida welcomes Roger C. Wiens, of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and University of New Mexico as a Distinguished Visiting Professor from December 9-11. The event will be hosted by professor Nicolo Omenetto.

Since 2004, Wiens has been the leader of the ChemCam laser instrument on the Curiosity rover, which landed in August 2012. He has directed the US and French team operating ChemCam and interpreting the data returned from Mars. Wiens has been involved in other NASA robotic missions as well, including Stardust, Mars Odyssey, Lunar Prospector, and Deep Space-One, which include missions to the Moon, Mars, and two comets. In 2014 NASA selected the SuperCam instrument, a successor to ChemCam, to be built for its new Mars rover, scheduled to launch in 2020. Wiens is now leading this new instrument development.

Wiens started his scientific career by writing the first dissertation on the Mars atmosphere based on samples analyzed in the laboratory, from Martian meteorites. He has worked as a scientist at Caltech, the University of California, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, and has made extended research visits to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of Bern, Switzerland, and Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France.

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