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Phil Christensen (2005), courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Phil Christensen is a geologist whose research interests focus on the composition, physical properties, processes, and morphology of planetary surfaces, with an emphasis on Mars and the Earth. He is a Regents' Professor and the Ed and Helen Horrick Professor of Geological Sciences at Arizona State Universitymarker, and is the principal investigator for the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) and the Mars Odyssey THEMIS instruments, as well as a co-investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers, responsible for the Mini-TES instruments. He also serves on the research staff of the Center for Meteorite Studiesmarker museum on the ASU campus. Phil is also the director of the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State Universitymarker.

His discovery (based on Thermal Emission Spectrometer data) of crystalline hematite in Meridiani Planum was instrumental in that area's choice as the landing site for the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.

Dr. Christensen was awarded the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal by NASAmarker in 2003, and was elected as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2004. In September, 2009, he served as chair of the Mars Panel of the National Research Council's 2013-2022 Decadal survey on planetary science.



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