An Interview with Harald Hiesinger

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

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

Visiting two large asteroids up close for the first time. Learning about the early Solar System.

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

I will contribute to the geologic interpretation of Vesta, including geologic mapping, stratigraphy, and mineralogy.

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

Finding enough time to do all the exciting research. Working on a body that nobody has seen up close—will our expectations hold true? There are many interesting questions—what should I focus on?

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

Getting to see an object in unprecedented detail. Being part of a great team of scientist with very diverse backgrounds.

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

I feel like a little boy in a candy store. It doesn’t get any better. I still need to learn so much before we get to Vesta.

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

Preparing as well as possible for the Vesta encounter. Getting all computers and labs ready. Organize collaborations.

What are your leisure time activities?

Sailing, skiing, driving my Porsche.

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

To be a great daddy for my little daughter.

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

It changed on a weekly basis.

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.

At the end of my college career, when I was looking for a PhD position. As soon as I looked at the moon through a telescope I got hooked.

Who inspired you? Why?

Jim Head, because he is a great role model, and many other planetary scientists.

What subjects were you interested in as a young student?


What was your favorite book as a child and why?

Too many to tell. I loved reading.

What advice would you give to aspiring engineers or scientists?

Work hard, have fun at the job, be excited about what you are doing.

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