Dr. Alfred McEwen

Dr. Alfred McEwen is a professor of planetary geology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He is the director the Planetary Image Research Lab (PIRL). He received his doctorate from Arizona State University in 1988 and worked at the US Geological Survey's planetology division in Flagstaff, AZ, until 1996. He specializes in imagery and interpretation of the geology of other planets, particularly Mars, Saturn's moon Titan and Jupiter's volcanic moon Io.

Dr. McEwen is currently the principal investigator for the HiRise (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment.) This incredible camera, onboard the MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter), was designed by optics whiz and fellow planetary scientist Peter Smith at the University of Arizona, who spent two years on the project and who also is the chief investigator for the Mars-Phoenix lander.

MRO's HiRise camera has been taking incredibly sharp closeup photos of Mars' varied geology since 2006, and actually imaged the Opportunity Mars rover. It also caught the Mars-Phoenix lander as it parachuted to thesurface, then again as it sat upon the arctic plains of Mars. It has also captured Martian geology in motion from avalanches to gully creation. HiRise has returned over 40 terabytes of high-resolution photos; more than all the other planetary imagery combined. Planetary scientists have lifetimes of Mars imagery to digest.

His next assignment was as co-investigator on LROC (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera) a "clone" of the MRO which will comb the moon for possible future manned landing sites. The Peter Smith designed camera did, for the first time, image d the 40-year old Apollo hardware left on the moon. He is also on Dr. Porco's Cassini imaging team where he led the planning and analysis for imaging observations of Titan's surface.

Dr. McEwen will show and explain his favorite MRO images on a large screen (if he showed all of them, it would take years), including some movies, flyovers, anaglyphs and 3D pairs, false and natural color, and black and white images.