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Who I am and what I do
I'm also actively involved in planning for future Mars missions including human settlements. He is involved in research in Mars-like environments on Earth, traveling to the Antarctic dry valleys, Siberia, the Canadian Arctic, and the Atacama desert to study life in these Mars-like environments.
I was a co-I on the Titan Huygen’s probe in 2005, the Mars Phoenix lander misson for 2007, and the Mars Science Lander mission for 2009. I am currently the Program Scientist for the Robotic Lunar Exploration Program.
What helped me prepare for this job
In 1980 I applied to be a NASA graduate student Planetary Biology Summer Intern. I was accepted and sent to NASA Ames working with Jim Pollack. While at Ames I met Imre Friedmann of Florida State University and became involved in microbiological work in the dry valleys of Antarctica. I became more and more interested in life and planets and continue to this day to conduct research in this area with a special focus on Mars and with many trips to the Antarctic.
What I like most about my job
The second important part of the creative process for me is talking with colleagues. For me involving the language capability -- writing works but talking is even better -- causes my brain to process information in new and creative ways. Often in this process I discover connections between things that I did not previously realize.
For more information see: http://spacescience.arc.nasa.gov/people/mckay
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