Co-Investigator, Geochemistry, Planetary Protection,
Dr. Benton C. Clark is Chief Scientist, Flight Systems, at Lockheed Martin Astronautics. He received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Columbia University in 1968. He was responsible for conceiving and developing the x-ray fluorescence spectrometers used for geochemical analyses of Martian soil samples onboard the Viking landers. He was Co-I for development of the lightflash detector and sunshade for the Particle Impact Analyzer (PIA) experiment, flown successfully on the Giotto mission. He has introduced the concept of key roles for cometary particulates and formation of comet ponds as an enabling step for the abiotic origin of life. He chairs the External Advisory Committee for the NASA Center for Research and Training in Exobiology at the University of California San Diego and Salk Institute. He has received the NASA Public Service Medal, the Wright Brothers Award, the Air Force Service Medal, and has been selected Inventor of the Year for Martin Marietta Corporation and Author of the Year for Martin Marietta Astronautics.