Peter Martin

Peter Martin

Grad student in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences

Hometown: Gainesville, Florida

Date of this Interview: April 27, 2020

Where is He Now? - Geochemistry Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Colorado Boulder

What do you research?

In my current research, I'm working on the history of the formation of New Guinea. My research team hypothesizes that the formation of the rocks in that area are directly related to climactic cooling in the last 15 million years. This cooling is the reason we have ice caps today, and is the cooling that humans are currently undoing at an unprecedented pace by consuming fossil fuels.

For my PhD I worked on the data returned from the Curiosity rover to constrain the age of the rocks in Gale crater and on a chemical called perchlorate on the surface of Mars. I have a proposal submitted to join the Mars 2020 team, so hopefully I will be returning to space research in the near future.

Why does space inspire you?

It's cliche, but space really is the "last frontier". The sheer magnitude and scale of celestial objects, and the corresponding mysteries they contain are just staggering. I think being curious about and inspired by space is innate for exactly that reason. That curiosity and inspiration carry through into more formal research and keep my motivation high even when faced with obstacles not directly to my research (COVID-19 is a good example of such an obstacle).

What’s one thing you’re grateful for in this difficult time?

There's a ton for me to be grateful for right now, and I don't think it's fair to pick just one thing (and I think it's helpful to keep all these things in mind at the moment). Here's a few things I'm thankful for right now: that I'm young, healthy, and fit; that I live in a place where I can go outside safely; that I have a stable job and income at a time when many people do not; that I have support structure of friends and family that I know I can count on even if I lose the other things I'm thankful for.

If you were a celestial body which celestial body would you be and why?


I would be the Earth. As much as I love Mars and other planets, Earth is home and it is singularly complex and interesting (and, I think, beautiful) among the bodies in the solar system.

Peter Martin