Douglas Ming will speak at the 38th annual Roscoe Ellis, Jr. Lectureship on Feb. 7


K-State Research and Extension news service


Manhattan, KS— A man whose career includes working on NASA’s prestigious Mars Rover project will speak about his experiences as a planetary scientist during a lecture at Kansas State University on Feb. 7.


Douglas Ming will present the 38th annual Roscoe Ellis, Jr. Lectureship in Soil Science at 4 p.m. Feb. 7 in 1018 Throckmorton Hall. The title of the lecture is “Journey to Mars: A Perspective from a Colorado Farm Boy.”


The lecture is open to the campus community and public. The Roscoe Ellis, Jr. Lectureship was put on hold for three years due to the COVID pandemic. This lectureship honors the career of Roscoe Ellis, Jr. and was established to advance soil science at K-State by attracting prominent scholars to interact with students and faculty.


Ming is an emeritus planetary scientist within the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) division at the Johnson Space Center. He has extensive experience in soil chemistry and mineralogy and numerous publications on the analysis of data from Mars robotic missions.


Although recently retired, Ming remains a science team member and a co-investigator for the Mars Science Laboratory Mission (Curiosity). Ming was previously a science team member on the Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity), a co-investigator for the 2007 Mars Phoenix Scout and science team member of the 1998 Mars Polar Lander Missions.


He earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy  and master’s degree in soil science from Colorado State University; and doctorate in soil science from Texas A&M University.


Ming’s current research focuses on the characterization of the mineralogy, geochemistry, and aqueous alteration history of sedimentary rocks in Gale crater on Mars through the instruments onboard the Curiosity rover.


Specific research projects include the characterization of short-range order/X-ray amorphous phases in terrestrial soils/sediments as analogs for similar materials discovered on Mars by the Curiosity rover; and experimental studies on the formation of phyllosilicates under acidic environmental conditions in open hydrologic systems as an analog for phyllosilicate.


More information on the Feb. 7 lecture is available online at