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June 25, 2007

ULM alum inducted into Space Camp Hall of Fame

Astrogeologist James Rice ('94) was one of eight people inducted into the Space Camp Hall of Fame June 13 in Huntsville, Ala. Actor William Shatner emceed the event.

Space Camp®, an educational science program, is the premier brand of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center®, one of the most comprehensive space flight hardware museums in the world. The Space Camp Hall of Fame is designed to honor graduates, former employees and supporters who have distinguished themselves in their respective careers or made considerable in-kind contributions to assist the Space Camp program, according to the Space Camp Web site.

Rice, a former Space Camp staffer, works at Arizona State University's Mars Space Flight Facility where he takes pictures of Mars and analyzes the images for future landing sites and geologic studies. His efforts ensure scientists better understand Mars.

NASA invited Rice on a six-month expedition to Antarctica, an expedition that allowed him to "explore the last frontier on the surface of the earth." Of the experience, which he compared to visiting another planet, he wrote, "It was one of the most exciting times of my life and perhaps as close as I will ever get to going to Mars."

Rice has always felt a passion for space. He wrote, “I knew from a very early age that I wanted to commit my life to the great adventure of exploring space. I have been interested and dreamed about exploring space ever since I was seven years old. I have never really wanted to do anything else with my life.”

He received an M.S. in geosciences at the University of Louisiana at Monroe where he created detailed geologic mapping of a region that contained evidence of “enormous floods and possibly lakes” on Mars. He earned his Ph.D. at Arizona State University where he specialized in the study of the geomorphology of the channels and landforms on Mars.

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