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by John Moores

June 16, 2005 -

Things are certainly starting to get busy around here. With the Phoenix Mission being confirmed we're beginning to staff up and the finishing touches are being put on the Science Operations Center (SOC) right here in Tucson, Arizona. I can remember the day when I first came by this building a year ago when I was one of only a handful of residents. Today nearly all the offices and lab-spaces have been filled - we've really come a long way in a short time!

Before I go any further, allow me to introduce myself. My name is John Moores and I am a graduate student in the Department of Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona. For the past two years, I've been studying here under my advisor, Peter Smith, Principal Investigator for the Phoenix Mission which means that I've been here almost since the beginning. If youid like to learn more about me or my past feel free to drop on by my personal web page. Of course to make a long story short it is worth mentioning that at one time I was an aerospace engineering student in Toronto, Canada which is how I first became interested in space missions. However, that is another story and will be told at another time.

My specialty here is mars polar research; specifically I am doing something I like to call "phoenix trailblazing" science. What this means is that I am trying to lay the experimental and theoretical groundwork for the measurements we will be collecting with the Phoenix Lander to push the limits of what can be discovered with our instrument package. Currently this means that I'm looking into the transport of ice and water in the surface to try and back out how it was deposited in the first place. Understanding this process will help to answer some of the big picture questions about mars such as whether or not the planet was in fact wet in the past and whether current conditions are in fact typical.

Look to this space in the future for more on this project as it develops!