Dr. James W. Rice, is an Astrogeologist with over 30 years research experience specializing in the exploration of the Solar System, especially the Moon and Mars. His career includes working for NASA, The Astrogeology Headquarters of the United States Geological Survey, the Mars Spaceflight Facility and the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.
Rice is a Co-Investigator and Geology Team Leader on the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Project (Spirit and Opportunity). He was the Associate Project Scientist on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Project. He also has NASA mission experience working on the Mars Odyssey Orbiter. Dr. Rice has been involved in Mars landing site selection and certification activities for every NASA Mars Mission since Mars Pathfinder in 1995. He is currently working on the Columbia Hills region landing site for the Mars 2020 Rover, this site was recently selected by NASA to be one of the final three candidate sites to be analyzed.
Rice was a Crew member driving, working, living and conducting EVAs in the Exploration Rover Vehicle for a 7 day duration analog Mars mission in northern Arizona
(Aug-Sept 2010). This was conducted as part of the NASA JSC Desert RATS Analog Field Tests.
Additionally, Dr. Rice has extensive geological field experience (over 25 years experience in Antarctica, High Arctic, Iceland, Hawaii) studying a wide variety of Mars and Moon analog environments. He has been a leader and team member on numerous international geological field expeditions around the world including a 6 month long joint NASA/Russian expedition to Antarctica. This work included being a member of the SCUBA diving team to first investigate the perennially frozen lakes of eastern Antarctica. Rice has also served on numerous NASA Science Analysis Groups for manned missions back to the Moon and Mars. He has also trained and briefed NASA astronauts in geology and Mars exploration.
NASA Astronaut Candidate Finalist (2000 and 2009)
*Joint US-Russian Antarctica Expedition
I was selected by NASA to be a Science Team Member on the first joint US (NASA)/Russian expedition to the Bunger Hills in eastern Antarctica. I spent 6 months at this remote isolated Russian outpost, which was an excellent analog to a Manned Mars expedition. I feel that this experience vividly demonstrates that I possess the following qualities: endurance, performance under pressure in a harsh remote isolated unforgiving environment, conducting hazardous operations (SCUBA diving)under frozen lakes with 5 meter thick ice covers, ambition, sense of daring and probing mind, problem solving abilities, communicability with others, discipline and the ability to work well in teams as well as individually under difficult conditions.
While there I was conducting geological field investigations both as part of the expedition team and individually. I was also a member of the SCUBA diving team where we conducted diving operations in Dry Suits under the ice covered lakes. This was a unique experience and vividly demonstrates my ability to participate as a team member on a long term international expedition in a remote and hostile environment conducting
hazardous operations (SCUBA diving). I departed on a Russian icebreaker out of Uruguay and returned to Cape Town, South Africa, where I then flew back to the US.
NASA Group Achievement Award: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Exploration
NASA Group Achievement Award: LRO Mission Operations Team
NASA Group Achievement Award: 2010 Desert RATS Science Team
NASA Group Achievement Award: Mars Exploration Rover Science Operations
NASA Group Achievement Award: Mars Exploration Rover 1st Extended Mission
NASA Group Achievement Award: Mars Exploration Rover 2nd Extended Mission
NASA Group Achievement Award: Mars Exploration Rover 3rd Extended Mission
NASA Group Achievement Award: Mars Exploration Rover 4th Extended Mission
NASA Group Achievement Award: Mars Odyssey Orbiter Operations
Astronaut Office Briefings:
-Geomorphology Lecture, Astronaut Office, JSC
-Mars Exploration Rover Science Briefing, Astronaut Office, JSC
-Mars Science Briefing, Astronaut Office, JSC
-Mars Analog Training for Manned Mars Missions, NASA Office of Exploration (JSC)
-Lunar Field Geology Analog Working Group
-Field Exploration Analysis Team (Lunar Geology)
-Human Exploration of Mars Science Analysis Group
-Mars Exploration Program Assessment Group
-Member of Manned Mars Field Geology Working Group
-Invited to attend Apollo Geologic Field Training Workshop