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Laurence Soderblom, PhD

Laurence A. Soderblom is a geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona. He has been involved in numerous JPL planetary missions including the Mariner 6, 7, and 9, Viking, Voyager, Magellan, Galileo, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Pathfinder, Deep Space 1, Cassini, Huygens, and the Mars Exploration Rovers.

From 1978 to 1996 he twice served as Chief of the Branch of Astrogeology of the United States Geological Survey. During 1983-84 he was a Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at Caltech. He attended New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology receiving two Bachelor Degrees in geology and in physics and Caltech where he received a PhD in planetary science and geophysics. Soderblom has been engaged in a broad collection of planetary research tasks including theoretical modeling of planetary surface processes and ground-based and spacecraft instrument development. Currently he is heavily involved in the Mars Exploration Rover and the Cassini-Huygens Missions.

Recent Accomplishments


  • New Mexico Institute of Technology - Geology, B.S. 1966
  • New Mexico Institute of Technology - Physics, B.S. 1966
  • California Institute of Technology - Geophysics and Planetary Science, Ph.D. 1970

Professional Studies/Experience

  • Associate Investigator on Mariner 6 and 7 TV Team (1969-1970)
  • Associate Investigator on Mariner 9 TV Experiment Team (1970-1973)
  • Associate Investigator Viking Orbiter Imaging Team (1976-1981)
  • Member, Galileo Near-Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (1978-2001)
  • Deputy Team Leader Voyager Imaging Science Team (1971-1990)
  • Member Magellan Project Steering Group (1978-1999)
  • Interdisciplinary Scientist, Mars Global Surveyor (1989-2002)
  • Member, Mars Global Surveyor Camera Team (1989-2002)
  • Member Huygens DISR Team (1990- )
  • Member Cassini RADAR Team (1990- )
  • Interdisciplinary Scientist, Cassini Project (1990- )
  • Member of the Imager for Mars Pathfinder Team (1994-1998)
  • Team Leader, MICAS New Millennium Deep Space 1 (1997-2001)
  • Member, Athena Science Team, Mars Exploration Rover Mission (2000-)


Professional societies/affiliations/committees/editorial boards

  • Associate Editor, Journal of Geophysical Research (1971-1973)
  • Member, SSB Committee on Lunar and Planetary Exploration (1973-1977)
  • Member, NASA Science Working Group on Terrestrial Planets (1976-1977)
  • Member, Lunar and Planetary Review Panel (1977-1979)
  • Chairman, NASA Space Science Advisory Committee (1980-1982)
  • Member, Solar System Exploration Committee (1980-1982)
  • Chairman, NASA Space and Earth Science Advisory Council (1980-1984)
  • Member, NASA Advisory Council (1980-1884)
  • President, Planetology Section, American Geophysical Union (1984-1986)
  • Member, Mars Science Working Group (1983-1985)
  • Member, NASA Solar System Exploration Management Council (1987-1988)
  • Chairman, NASA Solar System Exploration Subcommittee (1988-1990)
  • Member, NASA Space Science and Applications Committee (1988-1990)
  • Member, US/USSR Joint Wkg Grp on Solar System Exploration (1988-1992)
  • Leader, Visual Infrared Mapping Spectrometer Definition Team (1984-1988)
  • Executive Member Solar System Exploration Strategic Planning Committee (1993-1994)
  • Member, NASA Mars 2000 Strategic Planning Team (1993-1994)
  • Member, NASA Mars Science Working Group (1994-1996)
  • Member, New Mil