Michael Berube, University of Arizona undergradtate and HiRISE Team Member
Michael Berube, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering

What’s your current position and what does your work focus on?
I’m currently a digital terrain model production specialist for the HiRISE mission. I use data sent back from the MRO to create accurate 3D models of the Martian surface. These models are then used by other scientists on the team to study unique geological features on Mars.

What got you interested in planetary science?
I fell in love with space at a very young age. I was initially drawn to astronomy, but the idea that I would never get to visit the places I was studying seemed unappealing to me. Planetary science speaks to the need to explore that is at the heart of what makes us all human. I hope that HiRISE is the first step of many that will eventually lead to me placing my feet on another world.

Why is your subject of study important to you?
Humans have been gifted with curiosity since before recorded history. It’s what’s allowed us to advance from a cave dwelling species to a space-faring civilization in such a short amount of time. Working on HiRISE is exciting because I get to push the boundary of human exploration everyday. The terrain models that I assemble could one day aid in deciding where the first humans will land on the Martian surface. What could be more exciting than that?

What would you suggest to a young person to study if he/she is interested in planetary science?
I know that this is overused and a bit cheesy, but follow your heart. Take as many classes and read as many books about space as you can. You might not even know that your future field of study exists. The wider your range of knowledge in the field is, the easier it will be to hone in on something that you feel truly passionate about.

About HiRISE
The HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is the most powerful one of its kind ever sent to another planet. Its high resolution allows us to see Mars like never before, and helps other missions choose a safe spot to land for future exploration.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. and is operated by the University of Arizona.