Dr. John D. Rummel is a Senior Scientist with the SETI Institute and was formerly the Director of East Carolina University’s (ECU’s) Institute for Coastal Science and Policy. After beginning with NASA as a postdoc at the Ames Research Center in California, he went on to serve twice with NASA in Washington, D.C.—from 1986 to 1993 as (among other things) Exobiology Program Manager and Manager, Life Support Systems Integration, and from 1998 to 2006 as NASA’s Planetary Protection Officer. From 2006 to 2008 he was NASA’s Senior Scientist for Astrobiology, responsible for all of NASA’s efforts in astrobiology.
He chaired The International Council for Science’s Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Panel on Planetary Protection from 1999 to 2014, and is also a member of COSPAR’s Panel on Exploration and the representative of the International Union of Biological Science on the COSPAR Council. He has a B.A. in environmental biology from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in evolutionary ecology from Stanford. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is also the recipient of the Life Sciences Award from the International Academy of Astronautics, among other honors. He is the lead author of some of the newest guidelines on the exploration of Mars, “A New Analysis of Mars ‘‘Special Regions’’: Findings of the Second MEPAG Special Regions Science Analysis Group,” published in 2014 in Astrobiology.
"Mars One represents a chance to establish a new home for humanity outside the cradle of the Earth. As such, it may be one of the most important steps we could take. The sort of home that Mars might become, however, will depend strongly on how we approach its challenges—and opportunities. I am pleased to help the Mars One team in dealing with both."