Meet the Team: Craig Hardgrove

This month we feature Craig Hardgrove, a research scientist who recently joined our team at BMSIS.

BMSIS: Please tell us a little about yourself.

Craig: I grew up in the southeastern US, and got my undergraduate degree in physics at Georgia Tech. I completed my dissertation in planetary science from the University of Tennessee in 2011. I am currently on the Mars Science Laboratory color camera and neutron detector teams. I worked on the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, as well as with many other data sets from planetary spacecraft in orbit around Earth and Mars. For the Mars Science Laboratory mission, my work focuses on determining how the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons instrument can be used to identify the presence of hydrothermal or evaporative deposits. In other projects, I have shown how thermal infrared imaging can be used in desert environments to remotely identify sedimentary features indicative of surface water. I am an avid podcaster and musician, co-hosting and producing two video game related podcasts, as well as producing a remade version of a classic video game soundtrack. I’m particularly interested in outreach, and want to explore new ways to talk about and introduce scientific topics through podcasting and video games.

BMSIS: What motivated you to join the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science?

Craig: I was motivated to join the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science because I am interested in joining a community of like-minded scientists who study the Earth, our solar system and how the past and future of humanity relate to both. I was drawn to BMSIS because of its emphasis on outreach, specifically in the area of podcasting where I think relaxed, informal discussions (that involve beverages) with young scientists fill a hole in the currently available suite of scientific podcasts. I strongly feel that science means nothing if it isn’t communicated well, and connecting with people on a personal level can significantly help improve science communication. I hope to become involved in outreach projects through BMSIS, particularly those that utilize new science communication venues like podcasts and video games, but of course I am open to helping out anywhere I can!