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Dr. Ronald Greeley

Regents’ Professor


Ronald Greeley was a Regents’ Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) at Arizona State University, Director of the NASA-ASU Regional Planetary Image Facility, and Principal Investigator of the Planetary Aeolian Laboratory at NASA-Ames Research Center. He had been involved in lunar and planetary studies since 1967. His latest research had been focused on understanding planetary surface processes and geologic histories. The approach involved a combination of spacecraft data analysis, laboratory experiments, and geologic field studies on Earth of features analogous to those observed on the planets.

After receiving his Ph.D. in Geology in 1966, Greeley worked for Standard Oil Company of California. Through military duty, he was assigned to NASA’s Ames Research Center in 1967 where he worked in a civilian capacity in preparation for the Apollo missions to the Moon. Subsequently, he remained at NASA to conduct research in planetary geology. With the results from planetary missions in the early 1970s, attention shifted to Mars and research on volcanism and aeolian processes through the analysis of Mariner 6, 7, and 9 data. Results from this work were applied as a science team member on the Mars Viking Mission, 1976-80.

In 1977, Greeley joined the faculty at Arizona State University with a joint professorship in Geology and the Center for Meteorite Studies. His latest projects included study of wind processes on Earth, Mars, Venus, and Titan, field studies of basaltic volcanism, and photogeological mapping of planets and satellites including Europa. Planetary mission involvement included science team membership on the Mars Exploration Rovers, and the European Space Agency Mars Express mission. Greeley had served on various NASA and National Academy of Science panels to assess space science and planetary geology activities. He chaired the NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Management Operations Working Group, the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Lunar and Planetary Exploration, and the NASA Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group. Among his last appointments was as Co-chair of the NASA Science Definition Team for the Europa “flagship” mission. He was author or co-author of 16 books and more than 400 papers.

Positions held:

1977-2011         Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (Chair, 1986-1990; Regents’ Professor, 1994-2011; Interim Director, School of Earth and Space Exploration, 2005-2006)

1999-2003             Distinguished Visiting Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

1984                      Overseas Fellow, Cambridge University, Churchill College and Department of Earth Sciences, England

1976-1980             Adjunct Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York

1976-1977             Visiting Associate Professor, Division of Geological and Planetary Science, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California

1975-1980             Research Fellow, Physics and Astronomy Department, University of London Observatory, Mill Hill Park, London NW7 2QS, England

1971-1977             Research Associate, Physics Department, University of Santa Clara, California (Office and Laboratories at Space Sciences Division, NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California)

1969-1971             Postdoctoral Research Associate, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, Space Sciences Division, NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

1967-1969             Research Scientist, U.S. Army assigned to Space Sciences Division, NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

1966-1967             Geologist, Standard Oil Company (California), Lafayette, Louisiana

1965-1966             Instructor in Geology (part-time), Department of Geology, University of Missouri at Rolla, Missouri


B.S.        Geology         1962          Mississippi State University
M.S.       Geology         1963          Mississippi State University
Ph.D.      Geology         1966          University of Missouri at Rolla

Membership in Professional Societies:

American Association for Advancement of Sciences, Fellow
Geological Society of America, Fellow
American Geophysical Union, Fellow
Meteoritical Society
National Speleologic Society, Honorary Lifetime Member

Awards and Honors:

Fellow, American Association for Advancement of Science, (2008)
Fellow, American Geophysical Union, (2007)
Best Field Trip of the Year, Ariz. State Univ. School of Earth and Space Expl. (2007)
Presidents Award for Practical Paper, Amer. Soc. Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (2006)
Distinguished Faculty Award, Arizona State University (2004)
Distinguished Alumus Award, Mississippi State University (2004)
National Associate, National Academy of Sciences (2003)
Honorary Lifetime member, National Speleologic Society (2000)
Distinguished Visiting Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1999-2003)
Best Geoscience Reference (NASA Atlas), Geoscience Information Society (GSA) (1998)
Ida and Cecil Green Honors Professor, Texas Christian University (1998)
G. K. Gilbert Award, Planetary Geology Division, Geological Society of America (1997)
Regents’ Professorship, Arizona State University (1994)
Asteroid named Greeley 30785 (1988)
Outstanding Mentor of Graduate Students, Graduate College, Arizona State University (1988)
Overseas Fellow, Churchill College, Cambridge University (1984)
Distinguished Research Award, Graduate College, Ariz. State Univ. (1981-1982)

NASA Awards:

1. Public Service Medal, Viking landing site analysis (1977)
2. Galileo Superior Performance Award Earth-Moon-2 (1995)

Leadership Awards
1. Mars Strategic Planning (MEPAG Founding Chair) (2001)
2. Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter, Science Definition Team (community Chair) (2005)

Flight-project Group Awards
1. Viking Mars mission, Orbiter Imaging Team (1976)
2. Galileo Instrument (solid state imager) design team (1991)
3. Magellan radar science team (1992)
4. Galileo asteroid Gaspra encounter (1994)
5. Galileo Jupiter Probe and Orbit insertion (1996)
6. Imager for Mars Pathfinder science team (1997)
7. Synthetic Aperture Radar Development for Shuttle (1998)
8. Galileo Flight Operations (1998)
9. Automated Synthetic Aperture Radar Image Processor Development Team (1998)
10. Mars Exploration Rover Operations (2004)
11. Mars Exploration Rover Science (2004)
12. Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment Team (2005)
13. Mars Express extended mission operations (2008)

Future mission and instrument development Group Awards
1. ARES (Mars Airplane)
2. Mars Pathfinder, Imager for Mars Pathfinder Team (1997)
3. Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (2005)
4. Autonomous Science-craft Experiment (2005)
5. Software of the year (2005)

Professional Society Service:

Member, International Planetary Rovers Symposium, Science Program Steering Committee, Toulouse, France (1991-1992); Santa Monica (1997)
Member, American Geophysical Union, Committee on Public Affairs (1989-1994)
Member, Program Committee, Division of Planetary Science (Amer. Ast. Soc.; 1985, 1992)
Chairman, Geological Society of America, Planetary Geology Division (1989-1990)
Member, The Planetary Society, Advisory Board for Mars (1982-1985)
Organizing Committee – Third International Colloquium on Mars (1981)


Consultant, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2000-2011)
Consultant, Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory (2001-2006)
Member, Director’s Science Council, NASA Astrobiology Institute, Ames Research Center (1999-2003)
Member, Steering Committee, Solar System Exploration Strategic Survey, National Academy of Sciences (co-chair of Inner Planets Panel) (2001-2002)
Member, Mars Task Group, NASA Headquarters (2001)
Consultant, Global Aerospace (2002)
Consultant, CH2M Hill Engineers (2002)
Consultant, Mars Sample Return mission, SpaceDev (Boeing) (2001)
Chairman, Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration, National Academy of Sciences (1995-1998) (member, 1981-1985)
Member, Space Studies Board, National Academy of Sciences (1995-1998)
Member, Lunar and Planetary Institute Science Council (1981-1984; 1991-1995)
Member, Review Board, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Image Processing Facility (1984-1987; 1992-1994)
Consultant, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (1986-1988)
Member National Academy of Sciences Study Panel, Space Sciences in the Period 1995-2015 (1984-1986)
Consultant, UNESCO, Physics of Desertification (Trieste 1979), (Khartoum 1984)
Consultant, Impact Cratering proposal, Royal Society, London (1980)
Consultant, French space science review (CNR) (1978)
Expert Witness (law firms), litigation dealing with geological and aeolian processes

Editorial Service:

Associate Editor, Astrobiology (2001-2011)
Associate Editor, Icarus (1984-2001)
Associate Editor, Planetary Science Series, Cambridge University Press (1980-2000)
Associate Editor, Astronomy Express, Univ. of Cambridge Press (1984-1985)
Special Editor, 3rd Mars Colloquim Issue, Journal of Geophysical Research (1982)
Associate Editor, Journal of Geophysical Research (1978-1982) 

Convenor/Organizer of Service Functions:

Convenor, NASA Icy Satellites Astrobiology Workshop (NASA – Ames, Sept. 2007)
Convenor, AAAS Symposium, Europa, San Francisco (Feb. 2007)
Convenor, NASA Europa workshop (NASA-Ames) (Feb. 2006)
Organize, NASA workshop on Dust Devils (2005)
Chair, NASA-Astrobiology Institute, Europa Focus Group (2001-2011)
Co-chair, Workshop on Human Exploration of Mars (NASA Goddard, 2001)
Convenor, NASA , Geol. Soc. Amer., and NSF Short Courses in Planetology (1974, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1985, 1996)
Organizer, Dust on Mars workshop (1991)
Organizer and host NASA workshop on “Future of Planetary Geology” (1988)
Member, Organizing committee, LPI workshop “Mars Sample Return” (1988)
Convenor, NASA Panel for Space Science Microgravity Experiments (1983-1986)
Organizer, Io Volcanism Workshop, Kona (1984)
Organizer, NASA Field Conference on Aeolian Processes (1978)
Co-organizer, NASA Field Conference on Volcanism in the Snake River Plain (1977)
Organizer, NASA Field Conference on Hawaiian Volcanism (1974)

NASA Committees:

Co-chair, Science Definition Team, Europa Orbiter (2006-2001)
Chair, NASA Astrobiology Icy Satellites Focus Group (2006-2008)
Chair, NASA Astrobiology Europa Focus Group (2001-2004)
Chair, Europa Sub-Group, Outer Planets Program Analysis Group (2003-2006)
Chair, NASA Planet. Geo. and Geophys. Management Operations Working Group (2003-2008)
Co-chair, NASA Science Definition Team, Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (2003-2005)
Member, NASA Mars Exploration Review Team (2001-2003)
Chair, NASA Mars Exploration Payload Analysis Group (1999-2002)
Co-chair, Science Definition Team, Mars ’05 Orbiter (2000-2001)
Chair, NASA Office of Space Sciences – Minority University Program review panel (2000)
Chair, NASA Lunar Prospector Data Analysis review panel (1999)
Chair, NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility, Board of Directors (1998-2000)
Chair, NASA Jupiter Satellite Data Analysis review panel (1998)
Member, Mars Architecture Review Board (1998-1999)
Member, NASA-ESA Joint Science Working Group, InterMarsNet (1994-1996)
Member, Solar System Road Map development team-(1995-1996)
Member, NASA Mars Science Working Group (mission planning) (1976-1979), (1989-1995)
Member, Advanced Mission Planning: Mars Landing Sites (1978-1995)
Chair, NASA Clementine Review Panel (1993)
Member, NASA Science Definition Team, Mars MESUR mission (1991-1993)
Chair, NASA Science Steering Committee, Mars Geological Mapping Program (1986-1992)
Member, NASA Planetary Geology Development Program (1987-1992)
Project Director, NASA Solar System Atlas (1987-1992)
Member, NASA Science Steering Committee, Geology Remote Sensing Field Experiment (1987-1991)
Member, NASA Teleoperations Working Group, Ames Research Center (1989-1991)
Member, NASA Lunar Instrument Science Definition Team (1989-1991)
Member, NASA Mars Telescope Science Group (1990)
Member, NASA Steering Committee, “Mars: Volcanism/Tectonism” study project (1987-1990)
Steering Committee, NASA Galilean Satellite Geological Mapping Program (1980-1990)
Member, NASA Mars Rover/Sample Return Science Working Group (1988-1989)
Chair, NASA Lunar and Planetary Geology Program, Review Panel (Geology Group) (1976-1979), (1986-1989)
Chair, Steering Committee, NASA project, Solar System Science on Space Station (1984-1988)
Chair, Steering Committee, NASA project, Mars: Evolution of its Climate and Atmosphere (1984-1987)
Member, NASA Space Station Users Working Group, Goddard Space Flight Center (1985-1987)
Chair, NASA Planetary Cartography Working Group (1984-1986)
Chair, NASA Planetary Geology Working Group (1980-1984)
Member, NASA Lunar Nomenclature Subgroup (1974-1976)

Principal Investigator:

Jupiter Satellite Data Analysis Program (1999-2001)
Joint U.S.-Russia Investigator Program (1999-2001)
NASA-Astrobiology Institute (1998-2011)
Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program (1970-present)
Mars Geological Mapping Program (1972-1974; 1988-1997)
Mars Data Analysis Program (1976-1981) (1999-2005)
Lunar Data Analysis and Synthesis Program (1972-1975)
Venus Data Analysis Program (1993-1998)
Outer Planet Data Analysis Program (1984-1990)
Mars: Evolution of Volcanism, Tectonism, and Volatiles Program (1986-1989)
National Science Foundation, “Bolivian Ignimbrites” (1985-1987)
Shuttle Imaging Radar data analysis (1984-1985)
Mars: Evolution of Climate and Atmosphere Program (1983-1986)
Analysis of SIR-A (Radar) data (1983-1984)
Innovative use of the Space Station (1983)
Jupiter Data Analysis Program (1977-1983)
Apollo Data Analysis Program (1970-1972)

Co-investigator/Team member/Flight Projects:

Mars Exploration Rovers (2002-2011)
Mars Express imaging experiment (1998-2011)
Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment (2000-2011)
Mars Polar Lander, MVACS Imaging Team (1996-2000)
Galileo imaging team (1977-2001)
Mars Pathfinder imaging team (1994-1998)
SIR-C (Shuttle-Imaging Radar experiment) (1988-1997)
Mars 96 Imaging Experiment Team (1991-1996)
Viking Orbiter imaging team (1976-1980)

Guest Investigator/Flight Projects:

Mars 96 mission (1991-1996)
Magellan-Venus (1990-1992)
Mars Global Surveyor (2001-2004)