Dr. Mark S. Robinson
Mark Robinson's research interests are currently focused on the origin and evolution of planetary crusts, including volcanism, tectonism, and regolith development. Investigations are approached using a variety of remote sensing techniques: multispectral imaging, spectroscopy, stereo analysis, photoclinometry, and geomorphology utilizing datasets from Apollo, Lunar Orbiter, Clementine, Galileo, NEAR, Lunar Prospector, Mars Global Surveyor, and Mars Odyssey.
As a member of the MESSENGER Science Team Robinson will work to better constrain the timing of volcanism and tectonism on Mercury in order to unravel the formation and evolution of its crust. Mercury is a planet of extremes in terms of density, temperature variations, composition, and our state of knowledge.
The Earth's moon presents the best record of planetary differentiation and early crustal formation. As PI of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Robinson will lead science analysis of ultra-high resolution (50 cm/pixel) and the first ever global UV imaging through visible (315 nm through 680 nm; 400 and 100 m/pixel) of a planetary body. These two instrument components provides opportunities to study the composition of the lunar crust and details of how regoliths on airless bodies are formed and evolve with time.
Mars is at the other extreme from Mercury, it is the least dense terrestrial planet, it is very cold, and its crust shows amazing compositional heterogeneity. The next Mars opportunity (August 2005) will see the launch of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that carries the CRISM imaging spectrometer as part of its instrument complement. CRISM's mission is to find the spectral fingerprints of aqueous and hydrothermal deposits to help unravel the history of water on Mars.
Visit Dr. Robinson's site at Arizona State University for more information.
February 15, 2007