An Interview with Brent Garry

Meet Dawn Participating Scientist Brent Garry
The following interview is a written interview conducted by the Outreach team at Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
Dawn participating scientist Brent Garry

What do you think is the most compelling aspect of the Dawn mission?

The most compelling aspect of the Dawn mission is that we will be conducting fundamental geologic science on two diverse asteroids. Everything we see on the surface of Vesta and Ceres is going to be brand new to our eyes.

How are you participating in Dawn science as it relates to the Dawn mission?

My job on the team is as a Participating Scientist. I will be part of the geoscience working group that will map the geology of the Vesta and look for any past evidence of volcanism still preserved on the surface.

What are some of the challenges that accompany your job with the Dawn mission?

Coordination within the science team is a great challenge. We have a small team of very talented individuals and a lot of work to do. Getting it all done within in a short timeframe is going to take teamwork and communication.

What do you enjoy most about your work with the Dawn mission?

I am enjoying the chance to work with a great team to unravel the geologic mysteries of Vesta!

Describe your thoughts and feelings as the Dawn spacecraft is approaching at Vesta?

Pure excitement.

What are the most critical aspects of your job in the next several months in preparation for Vesta arrival?

For my role, I think the most critical aspect will be to understand the workflow of the incoming data so that I can help produce mosaics for geologic mapping. It will be important to map key geologic features on the images from the survey orbit as soon as possible to gain insight about the surface of Vesta before we obtain the higher resolution images from the lower mapping orbits.

What are your leisure time activities?

In my spare time I love to SCUBA dive. I am a volunteer SCUBA diver at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD where I get to feed the sting rays, moray eels, and tropical fish each month.

Do you have a yet-to-be-achieved life goal?

Yes, to walk on the Moon.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a kid, I wanted to work at Walt Disney World as either a cartoonist, where I could illustrate the movies, or as an Imagineer, where I would design future rides and theme parks.

At what point did you determine that you would pursue a career in space science? Tell about the path that led you to this field.

My original major in college was Business. After taking an Astronomy class and obtaining my SCUBA certification, I was inspired to take a Geology 101 class. I was hooked from the first lecture and changed my major at the end of my sophomore year. While I never thought of my self as the 'science type' as kid or in high school, my career incorporates several things I already love to do for fun, including art, SCUBA Diving, and hiking outdoors on lava flows.

Who inspired you? Why?

My grandfather. He had a great sense of humor and a passion for life.

What subjects were you interested in as a young student?

When I was a young student my favorite class was Art.

What was your favorite book as a child and why?

Tough question…my favorite book as a child has to be The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Edwards (a.k.a. Julie Andrews - Mary Poppins). My third grade teacher read it to the class and I was mesmerized by the all the crazy creatures in the story.

What advice would you give to aspiring engineers or scientists?

My advice to youngsters aspiring to be engineers and scientists is to follow the 3 P’s: be Patient, be Persistent, and have Passion, and the 3 E’s: get an Education, gain Experience, and never stop Exploring!

- Back to Team Interviews & Features