James F. Bell, III

James F. Bell, III

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James F. Bell III (born 1965) is a Professor of Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

 at Arizona State University
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area of the State of Arizona...

, specializing in the study of planetary geology, geochemistry and mineralogy using data obtained from telescopes and from various spacecraft missions. Dr. Bell's active research has involved the NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 Mars Pathfinder
Mars Pathfinder
Mars Pathfinder was an American spacecraft that landed a base station with roving probe on Mars in 1997. It consisted of a lander, renamed the Carl Sagan Memorial Station, and a lightweight wheeled robotic rover named Sojourner.Launched on December 4, 1996 by NASA aboard a Delta II booster a...

, Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR)
NEAR Shoemaker
The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous - Shoemaker , renamed after its 1996 launch in honor of planetary scientist Eugene M. Shoemaker, was a robotic space probe designed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for NASA to study the near-Earth asteroid Eros from close orbit over a...

, Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR), 2001 Mars Odyssey
2001 Mars Odyssey
2001 Mars Odyssey is a robotic spacecraft orbiting the planet Mars. The project was developed by NASA, and contracted out to Lockheed Martin, with an expected cost for the entire mission of US$297 million. Its mission is to use spectrometers and electronic imagers to hunt for evidence of past or...

, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is a NASA multipurpose spacecraft designed to conduct reconnaissance and Exploration of Mars from orbit...

, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
The Lunar Precursor Robotic Program is a program of robotic spacecraft missions which NASA will use to prepare for future human spaceflight missions to the Moon. Two LPRP missions, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite , were launched in June 2009...

, and the Mars Science Laboratory
Mars Science Laboratory
The Mars Science Laboratory is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration mission with the aim to land and operate a rover named Curiosity on the surface of Mars. The MSL was launched November 26, 2011, at 10:02 EST and is scheduled to land on Mars at Gale Crater between August 6 and 20, 2012...

 missions. His book Postcards from Mars includes many images taken by the Mars rovers. Dr. Bell is currently an editor of the space science journal Icarus
Icarus (journal)
Icarus is a premier scientific journal dedicated to the field of planetary science. It is published under the auspices of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences . The longtime publisher was Academic Press, which is now part of Elsevier...

 and president of The Planetary Society. He has served as the lead scientist in charge of the Panoramic camera (Pancam) color imaging system on Mars rovers Spirit
Spirit rover
Spirit, MER-A , is a robotic rover on Mars, active from 2004 to 2010. It was one of two rovers of NASA's ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission. It landed successfully on Mars at 04:35 Ground UTC on January 4, 2004, three weeks before its twin, Opportunity , landed on the other side of the planet...

 and Opportunity
Opportunity rover
Opportunity, MER-B , is a robotic rover on the planet Mars, active since 2004. It is the remaining rover in NASA's ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission...



Bell earned his B.S. degree in Planetary Science
Planetary science
Planetary science is the scientific study of planets , moons, and planetary systems, in particular those of the Solar System and the processes that form them. It studies objects ranging in size from micrometeoroids to gas giants, aiming to determine their composition, dynamics, formation,...

 and Aeronautics
Aeronautics is the science involved with the study, design, and manufacturing of airflight-capable machines, or the techniques of operating aircraft and rocketry within the atmosphere...

 from the California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

 in 1987. He earned his M.S. degree in Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 and Geophysics
Geophysics is the physics of the Earth and its environment in space; also the study of the Earth using quantitative physical methods. The term geophysics sometimes refers only to the geological applications: Earth's shape; its gravitational and magnetic fields; its internal structure and...

 in 1989 and his Ph.D. in Planetary Geosciences in 1992 from the University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Hawaii at Manoa
The University of Hawaii at Mānoa is a public, co-educational university and is the flagship campus of the greater University of Hawaii system...



Bell is an active planetary scientist and has been involved in many NASA robotic space exploration missions. As a professional scientist, he has published over 30 first-authored and 140 co-authored scientific research papers and over 400 short abstracts and conference presentations. Bell has also written and edited several books about Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 and the Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

. He is active in educating the public about space exploration
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

. He is a frequent contributor to popular astronomy and science magazines and has made a number of television appearances on major network and cable channels. He is currently a professor at the Arizona State University School of Earth and Space Exploration and an Adjunct Professor at the Cornell University Astronomy Department's Center for Radiophysics and Space Research.

Awards and honors

Bell has received a number of awards and honors during his career. Most recently, he was awarded the 2011 Carl Sagan Medal
Carl Sagan Medal
The Carl Sagan Medal for Excellence in Public Communication in Planetary Science was established by the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society to recognize and honor outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public...

 from the American Astronomical Society
American Astronomical Society
The American Astronomical Society is an American society of professional astronomers and other interested individuals, headquartered in Washington, DC...

 Division for Planetary Sciences
Division for Planetary Sciences
The Division for Planetary Sciences is a division within the American Astronomical Society devoted to solar system research. It was founded in 1968. The first organizing committee members were: Edward Anders, L. Branscomb, J. W. Chamberlain, R. Goody, J. S. Hall, A. Kliore, M. B. Elroy, Tobias...

, for excellence in public communication in planetary sciences.
Jim has also received NASA Group Achievement Awards for his part in the Mars Exploration Rover
Mars Exploration Rover
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission is an ongoing robotic space mission involving two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, exploring the planet Mars...

s (MER) 3rd and 4th extended missions and the Phoenix Mission
Phoenix (spacecraft)
Phoenix was a robotic spacecraft on a space exploration mission on Mars under the Mars Scout Program. The Phoenix lander descended on Mars on May 25, 2008...

 Support Team. In 2007 he was named a United States National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

 Kavli Fellow, and in 1996 he was awarded the asteroid name 8146 Jimbell
8146 Jimbell
8146 Jimbell is a main-belt asteroid discovered on November 28, 1983 by E. Bowell at the Anderson Mesa Station of the Lowell Observatory.- External links :*Astronomer and Planetary Scientist James F. Bell, III...

 by the International Astronomical Union
International Astronomical Union
The International Astronomical Union IAU is a collection of professional astronomers, at the Ph.D. level and beyond, active in professional research and education in astronomy...

 (IAU) in his honor.

Selected works

Asteroid Rendezvous: NEAR Shoemaker's Adventures at Eros ISBN 0521813603 (co-editor, 2002)

Postcards from Mars: The First Photographer on the Red Planet ISBN 9780525949855 (2006)

Mars 3-D: A Rover's-Eye View of the Red Planet ISBN 9781402756207 (2008)

The Martian Surface: Composition, Mineralogy and Physical Properties ISBN 9780521866989 (editor, 2008)

Moon 3-D: The Lunar Surface Comes to Life ISBN 9781402765513 (2009)

External links