Raymond Arvidson

James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Ray Arvidson

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Arvidson is an interdisciplinary scientist for NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor, is head of NASA’s Planetary Data System Geosciences Node and is a director of NASA’s Regional Planetary Image Center. He also is in charge of science operations for landers and rovers used in the 2001 Mars mission and the 2003 Athena Mars Rover mission and payload, and acts as a deputy principal investigator for imaging and spectroscopy experiments and a deputy investigator, respectively.

Arvidson is director of the Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing Laboratory as well as head of the Pathfinder Program in Environmental Sustainability. He has more than 100 publications dealing with remote sensing of Earth, Mars and Venus.

WashU in the News


A spillway on Mars?

NASA’s senior Mars rover, Opportunity, is examining rocks at the edge of Endeavour Crater for signs that they may have been either transported by a flood or eroded in place by wind.

WashU Expert: Arvidson on news that water still flows on Mars

NASA announced earlier this week that dark streaks that appear on Martian slopes in the summer, lengthen and then fade as winter approaches are seeps of salty water. The news that Mars still has surface water again raised hopes that it may have life. It will take thoughtful mission planning to find out, says Washington University in St. Louis Mars expert Ray Arvidson, PhD.

Spirit of St. Louis on Mars

The Opportunity rover is currently exploring a Martian crater named the Spirit of St. Louis, after the famous aircraft — which was in turn named in honor of St. Louis citizens who purchased it for Charles Lindbergh. The mission team picked this naming scheme because Washington University team members spotted a promising target just beyond the crater. As long as the rover remains in the crater, the names will drawn from a list of names related to the famous flight.

From high school dropout to landing Curiosity on Mars: Adam Steltzner on how ‘Curiosity Changed My Life’

Nothing in Adam Steltzner’s younger years pointed to his becoming NASA’s chief engineer for the highly delicate landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars. He flunked high school geometry and dropped out to join a rock band. On March 26, Steltzner will tell how “Curiosity Changed My Life” for the Assembly Series. His presentation, which will begin at 6 p.m. in Graham Chapel, is free and open to the public.

Happy 10th anniversary Opportunity!

Ten years ago, on Jan. 24, 2004, the Opportunity rover landed on a flat plain in the southern highlands of the planet Mars and rolled into an impact crater scientists didn’t even know existed. In honor of the rover’s 10th anniversary, Ray Arvidson, PhD, deputy principal investigator of the rover mission, recently took an audience on a whirlwind tour of the rover’s decade-long adventures and discoveries.