Andre Anders

Mars is the greatest of opportunities for humankind; the chance to begin again and do it right this time.Andre Anders

What I do on Mars

As a geochemist, I use the tools and principles of chemistry to explain the mechanisms behind various geological systems on Mars. When humanity needed safe places to build housing on Mars, I mapped stable lava tubes that provide radiation protection. Although sometimes unnoticed, rocks give us clues to great discoveries. The soil on Mars is a book that documented the history of Mars as well as our future.

Character Q&A

I grew up on a farm. As the youngest child, the job of digging rocks out of the soil so crops could grow was mine. I hated it. Would you not, too? I used to throw the rocks at trees to pretend I was playing baseball. One day, one of the rocks busted open, showing something neat inside, you see?

I could not believe the sparkling, shiny bit inside the rock, you understand? I dug up more and more and chipped away at them to find more of these beautiful things. It was not long until my room was full of rocks. I read every book on rocks that I could find, yes? I even tried to write my own about the rocks I found!

My cousin came to visit one day and I wanted to show off my rock collection, you know? I stuffed as many rocks as I could fit into my pockets and ran to greet her. My pocket tore from all the rocks, yes? As you can imagine, my mother was very mad! I was grounded for a week. And my cousin wasn’t very impressed, either. I did not care then and I do not now. I love rocks and I’ve made a career out of studying them. I’m respected for it, you know? Rocks have been very good to me.

I was always fascinated by rocks. Even the smallest trace could contain massive information. Mars is a new world. When I’m studying the rock and sand, I feel like I’m drawing out the blueprint of Mars’ history and our future on the red planet.
As a geochemist, the most memorable experience I’ve had was definitely when I stepped on the soil of Mars. You know, we geochemist are especially interested in rocks and what they are made of and all the chemical processes that go on in making them. What’s so fascinating about it is that now we’ve got easy access to this rich reservoir of samples, we would be able to map out the life path of Mars. And it’s very likely that our work on Mars will shed light on our understanding of the originality of earth and human beings.
I guess being a geochemist requires seeing the world with child-like eyes, and it requires looking at it with awe and wonder. In a way, I have been preparing for my work all my life. Before I went to school, my experience on the farm sparked my interest in rocks and earth. My studies in college required a broad background and preparation in science and mathematics. To study the geosciences you must be prepared in basic areas such as chemistry, physics, and mathematics through calculus. In addition, special study in the geosciences and a great deal of “fieldwork” — looking at the earth up close — all helped in preparing for my work today.

My first piece of advice would be to discover where your passion truly lies. Science is a great career for thinking about things that nobody else has thought of before. If you do it right, people will pay you to do what you love!

My second piece of advice is that you should get a great general background in the geosciences and other areas of math and science as an undergraduate. Don’t specialize in any particular sub-discipline until graduate school. Here is my last advice: participate in fieldwork as much as you can. The experiences in the field is invaluable to your studies and to your later career.

My Role Model

Dr. David Des Marais

Dr. David Des Marais

Andre Anders

Andre Anders

Title Geochemist
What I DoUse the tools and principles of chemistry to explain the      mechanisms behind various geological systems and phenomena on Mars
EducationB.S. Geology
M.S. Geochemistry
SkillsUsing maps and various devices to solve chemical problems
  • Collecting rocks
  • Road trips
  • Camping

Aptitude / Personality Profile