Dr. Jens Ormo

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Dr. Jens Ormo
Dr. Jens Ormo – Research scientist, Center for Astrobiology- Madrid, Spain – Impact crater geology and experiments.

TRANSCRIPT: "My name is Jens Ormo. I’m forty three years old and I’ve worked here, at the Center for Astrobiology for about ten years. My background is in geology. I studied geology at Stockholm University, at Marburg University in Germany, and in Tromsø University in Norway. Since then I have pursued this feeling of cosmic impact cratering and effects and geological effects and environmental effects of this impact on the Earth and other planets. And I have created this laboratory that you see here behind me with a cannon, here, that can shoot projectiles down into various targets. And I have a camera pack here so I can record these impact experiments.

My first contact with planetary science was though a number of Summer schools in Bruck, Austria and Italy and that is also what lead me to do a post-doc later on at the International Research School of Planetary Sciences in Italy. I feel that impact cratering is a very exciting field of science. It encompasses many, many topics from shock physics, geochemistry, geomorphology, even into social sciences. And it is also a topic with a lot of action compared to other geological processes.

I feel the greatest excitement in my work when I see how observations fall into place like pieces in a puzzle. One of these moments was, for instance, when the Mars Opportunity rover started to send back images of Mars and these images confirmed some of the things we had predicted that we were going to see there. This was one of these occasions I remember as especially exciting.

Science today is very much about an interdisciplinary approach. One of those approaches is Astrobiology and it is needed in this field to combine everything from geology and physics, astrophysics, even molecular biology, or medicine to understand and answer the maybe biggest question of all – “Why are we here?”

I hope you enjoy your studies and I hope your studies will lead you into the field of planetary science. And I would like to see you all sometime in the future in my lab, or at a conference presenting interesting things or anything. So good luck with your studies."

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Julia Robinson, University of Utah
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