Aaron J. Kilgallon, University of Arizona physics undergradtate and HiRISE team member
Aaron J. Kilgallon, Mathematics & Physics, College of Science

What’s your current position and what does your work focus on?
I am currently a student DTM production specialist. My job involves using images acquired by HiRISE to create 3D terrain models of the Martian surface.

What got you interested in planetary science?
I have always been interested in space, and this opportunity seemed to be the optimal way to get some experience in this field. I was very excited to be able to work with actual data from an ongoing spacecraft mission.

Why is the work that you do here important to you?
My job at HiRISE is important to me because I know that I am making a positive impact on the world. I can see the results of my work being implemented in scientific journals and conferences, and I know that my work will be appreciated by many researchers and scientists. It is very rewarding to know that scientific advances are being made as a direct result of what I do.

What would you suggest to a young person to study if he/she is interested in planetary science?
I would suggest learning about the different fields and aspects of planetary science. There are a large number of different research areas that involve many varying types of persons and skills. Learning about both the science and operations aspects of this field is important to choosing the correct career for you, based on your skills. Mathematics, physics, and a diverse range of scientific topics are very important. However, the most important trait for those interested in this field is a passion for space and science.

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.