MacArthur Fellows Program

Michael C. Malin

Geologist and Planetary Scientist | Class of 1987

Geologist and Planetary Scientist
Tempe, Arizona
37 at time of award
Published July 1, 1987

About Michael's Work

Michael Malin is a geologist and a planetary scientist who has made contributions to geomorphology, volcanology, planetary geology, geophysics, computer graphics simulation and image synthesis, and remote sensing.

In 1990, he established Malin Space Science Systems to design, develop, and operate instruments that fly on unmanned spacecraft.  He is the principal investigator for several camera systems flown on missions to Mars between 1996 and 2004, sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  After completing two cameras for the 2005 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, he is working on three cameras for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover mission, tentatively scheduled to launch in 2009, and on four cameras for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, to be launched in 2008.  He continues to analyze images from the Mars Global Surveyor Camera, which has been orbiting Mars since September of 1997.


Malin is the chief scientist and president of Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) in San Diego, California.  From 1979 to 1991, he was a professor at Arizona State University, Tempe.  He has published numerous articles in such publications as Science, the Journal of Geophysical Research, and Nature.

Malin received an A.B. (1971) from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. (1976) from the California Institute of Technology.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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