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Professional Biography


JACK D. FARMER is Professor of Geobiology in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University (ASU). His research interests include biological mediation of sedimentary processes, the microbial fossil record of the Precambrian biosphere and the origin and early evolution animals.

Much of his research has focused on understanding the factors that control biosignature preservation and how this knowledge can be translated into strategies for the search for evidence of past life on the Precambrian Earth, or other planets, like Mars.

He is a participating scientist on the Mars Exploration Rover mission (ongoing) and a member of the CheMin instrument team on the Mars Science Laboratory mission, which landed at Gale Crater on Mars on August 6, 2012.

Prior to joining the faculty at ASU, Dr. Farmer was on the Faculty of the Department of Earth and Space Exploration at UCLA (1986-91) and a research scientist in the Exobiology Branch of NASA's Ames Research Center (1991-98). In 2001, he testified on Life in the Universe before the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, Committee on Science, House of Representatives, One Hundred Seventh Congress.

He has been instrumental in promoting the exploration for a Martian fossil record and in the selection of the landing sites for Mars Pathfinder and the Mars Exploration Rovers. Dr. Farmer served on the science definition teams for the Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter missions.

He is past Director of the ASU's NASA-funded Astrobiology Program. He was a charter member of the Executive Council of NASA's Astrobiology Institute (NAI) from 1998-2003 and chairperson of the NAI Mars Focus Group (2000-2003) and of the community-based Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) in 2003.

Dr. Farmer is an active member of the Geological Society of America (GSA) and is co-founder and past chairperson for GSA's Geobiology/ Geomicrobiology Division and was recipient of the Division's 2012 Award for Outstanding Contributions to the fields of Geobiology and Geomicrobiology. He is a Sequoyah Fellow of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and an Associate Editor of the journals, Astrobiology and the International Astrobiology Journal.

He is a past member of NASA's Space Sciences Advisory Committee and has served on several National Research Council (NRC) boards and committees, including the Space Studies Board (SSB), the Committee to Review the NASA Astrobiology Institute, the Committee for the Review of NASA Science Mission Directorate Science Plan, and the Committee on an Assessment of Balance in NASA's Science Programs. He recently chaired the NRC SSB's Committee on the Review of Planetary Protection Requirements for Mars Sample Return Missions Space Studies Board, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences of the National Research Council.



Life in the universe: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, Committee on Science, House of Representatives, One Hundred Seventh Congress, first session, July 12, 2001. first session, Volume 2, Issues 107-117. Unknown Binding: 90 pages Publisher: For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O. [Congressional Sales Office]; [Corr. print.] edition (2001) Language: English ISBN-10: 0160663490 ISBN-13: 978-0160663499



Copyright © Dr. Jack Farmer, Arizona State University
email Dr. Farmer: jfarmer at asu dot edu