||Who: Program Scientist Dr. Catherine Weitz
What: Live Online Chat about the Mars Exploration Rover Mission
When: Thursday, November 6
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Central Standard Time
Mission Background: The Mars Exploration Rovers are currently en route to Mars. MER-A (Spirit) is expected to land 03-Jan-2004 (10:35 p.m. CST) while MER-B (Opportunity)'s expended land date is 24-Jan-2004 (11:05 p.m. CST).
Biography: Dr. Catherine Weitz is the Program Scientist for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) and Mars Express missions. She is a visiting scientist at NASA Headquarters and her home institution is the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona.
Dr. Weitz attended Cornell University where she majored in Geology and did research on martian sand dunes. After she received her bachelors, she completed her masters at Caltech on both Mars and Earth research. She then worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on both the Magellan mission to Venus and the Space Shuttle Imaging Radar-C mission. Cathy left JPL to return to graduate school and earned her PhD in Planetary Geology at Brown University. She did her dissertation based on Clementine remote sensing data of the Moon combined with studies of Apollo 17 lunar soil samples.
Upon completing her doctorate in 1998, she returned to JPL as a National Research Council Associate and worked on the Mars 2001 mission and began research on martian volcanism. She then transferred her Associateship to NASA Headquarters and soon became a Program Scientist in the Mars Exploration Program. In addition to her management responsibilities at NASA Headquarters, she also spends time performing research on layered deposits located within the Valles Marineris canyon system on Mars. When not working at the office, she enjoys running, biking, painting, and driving out to the country.