Dr Adrian Brown

Adrian Brown
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Dr Adrian Brown


On Demand Video: What it’s like to work on the M2020 Mars Mission
On Demand Video Link

Video Synopsis:

Launched on 30 July 2020 the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover is scheduled to land on Mars – 18 February 2021. Perseverance will spend at least one Mars year (about 687 Earth days) searching for signs of ancient microbial life, which will advance NASA’s quest to explore the past habitability of Mars. The rover has a drill to collect core samples of Martian rock and soil, then store them in sealed tubes for pickup by a future mission that would ferry them back to Earth for detailed analysis. Perseverance will also test technologies to help pave the way for future human exploration of Mars. What is it like to work in space exploration and specifically on the M2020 Mission? How did the Australian Adrian Brown make his way from Melbourne to NASA as the Deputy Program Scientist for the Mars 2020 mission? What is the connection between the rocks of Mars and those of the Pilbara in Western Australia and how can our rocks help in the search for life on another planet? This mission is the first part of an ambitious plan to eventually bring samples from Mars back to Earth. Here is your opportunity to learn first hand about M2020 from one of the key NASA scientists.


Dr. Adrian Brown is currently working as a planetary science researcher at the NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. where he is the Deputy Program Scientist on the Mars2020 rover mission. Adrian’s fields of research include Mars, astrobiology and remote sensing spectroscopy and have a background in computer science and electrical engineering.

Adrian is a fully qualified private pilot and has used this skill to enhance his knowledge of remote sensing by flying over study regions in Western Australia. He holds current endorsements on C172 and Piper Warrior single-engine aircraft. He is qualified in remote first aid and as an outback four-wheel drive exponent and served with the Royal Australian Navy as a Weapons Engineer and Fire Control Officer on Her Majesty’s Australian Ships CANBERRA and ARUNTA, in addition to numerous shore postings around Australia.

Adrian is an Australian citizen and grew up in Melbourne, Victoria. He is a fan of the Australian Rules football club Essendon, and an avid listener to JJJand TAL.

He completed his PhD in Earth and Planetary Science at Macquarie University, in Sydney, Australia. The topic of his defence was “Hyperspectral Mapping of Ancient Hydrothermal Systems”. His advisors were Prof. Malcolm Walter of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology and Dr. Thomas Cudahy of CSIRO Exploration and Mining in Perth, Western Australia. Further information is available here.

After completing his PhD, Adrian was selected as a 2006 NASA Postdoctoral Scholar at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. Adrian then became a research scientist at the non-profit SETI Institute where he conducted planetary science research, primarily on Mars using the CRISM instrument on NASA’s MRO spacecraft. While at the SETI Institute, Adrian ran the research and public SETI Seminar series and was the program chief for the SETICON II convention. In 2015, Adrian moved to the East Coast and has since taken up his current role at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C