About the 2010 Mines Medal Recipient
Steven Squyres, Ph.D. —
was named the 2010 recipient of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology's Mines Medal. Squyres is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University and the principal investigator for the science payload on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project. Squyres successfully conceived, organized, and led the exploration of the planet Mars with two small rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. He is also a co-investigator on the Mars Express mission and on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment.
Squyres' research focuses on the large, solid bodies of the solar system: the terrestrial planets and the satellites of the Jovian planets. His work involves analysis of data from both spacecraft and ground-based telescopes, as well as a variety of types of geophysical modeling. His areas of particular interest include the tectonics of Venus, the history of water on Mars, and the geophysics of the icy satellites of the outer planets. Data analysis and theory are used together to examine the processes that have shaped the surfaces and interiors of these bodies.
Squyres has participated in a number of planetary spaceflight missions. From 1978 to 1981, he was an associate of the Voyager imaging science team, participating in analysis of imaging data from the encounters with Jupiter and Saturn. He was a radar investigator on the Magellan mission to Venus, a member of the Mars Observer gamma-ray spectrometer flight investigation team, and a co-investigator on the Russian Mars '96 mission.
While much of Squyres' NASA work has centered on Mars, his ground-based research focuses on geophysical modeling of all of the planets, as well as some large moons, in an effort to understand the geological forces at work on these distant worlds. He has also conducted field work in Antarctica, working with the perennially ice-covered lakes.
He has served as the chair of the NASA Space Science Advisory Committee and as a member of the NASA Advisory Council. In addition, Squyres is a member of the imaging team for the Cassini mission to Saturn.
Among his honors, Squyres has received the Harold C. Urey Prize, from the Planetary Division of the American Astronomical Society, the 2004 Carl Sagan Memorial Award of the American Astronomical Society, the 2005 Wired Rave Award, the 2006 Roy Chapman Andrews Society Distinguished Explorer Award, and the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science.
Squyres has written numerous scientific articles in the field of planetary sciences and in 2005 published the popular book Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet.
View media from the 2010 Mines Medal Award Ceremony.