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Garry Hunt  –  physicist
Click for larger image " Mars is fundamental to the future of the human race so it behoves us to explore and understand its physical environment from this millennium onwards."
How were you motivated to choose your particular field?
  In my early life, this type of career never entered my mind. At school, my skills indicated at an early stage that I would follow some form of scientific career. I was always good at mathematics, so it was no surprise that I read this subject at University and came out top of college, in the University of London. However, I balanced my life with sporting activities and played every sport possible at school. At University, I captained the rugby club for 2 years and played top class club rugby (now professional), before my career activities took over.

It was only after achieving my Ph.D. that space exploration and atmospheric physics became a part of my life. The journey started in 1966, when I left the University of London and took a research fellowship in association with the Atlas Computer Laboratory near Harwell and the Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford. Here I intended to make use of my mathematical abilities, and apply my skills to the world of atmospheric physics. This was the time when earth weather satellites were being developed, and through my association with the Department of Atmospheric Physics, I became involved in studying the earth's atmosphere from these remote platforms.

But it was apparent to me that similar approaches could be applied to the atmospheres of the other planets in the solar system, which were still the province of astronomical observers. I realised that with my background, knowledge of meteorology and a desire to understand the physics of atmospherics, there were many opportunities in the solar system which would place Earth in perspective. I have been proved correct.

  Click for larger image
What can you share about your creative process?
    The highlight of my career was when I became a member of the Imaging Team on the Voyager mission to Jupiter and the outer planets. I was even more thrilled and honoured to be the only UK scientist selected for the mission. During the time of the Voyager encounters, with every passing second we would see something new, make a unique discovery and answer a fundamental question that had been unresolved for years, decades and even centuries. I was a small part of an inspirational team of men and women who were rewriting the textbooks. Now 20 years after the first encounter with Jupiter, Voyager is still making the news, an exciting and inspirational journey which is always with us.

I noticed this recently, when my son who was born in 1984, 5 years after the Jupiter encounter had a Voyager question in a school examination. You feel part of the fabric of life to have your work examined in this way.

What ideas do you have for a future human community on Mars?
  In the very distant future, as our sun slowly dies, it will expand and engulf the inner planets. Inevitably, as the Earth heats up mankind will one day have to seek to survive on mars. As our neighbour, Mars is fundamental to the future of the human race so it behoves us to explore and understand its physical environment from this millennium onwards, recording for example the rocks, its chemical composition, magnetic properties, weather systems and surface temperatures. Hopefully by the time civilisation comes to an end on Earth we will have already founded new colonies on Mars which will thrive, prosper and grow in order to fulfil man's destiny.

Garry Hunt is a leading international scientist, broadcaster & business adviser with extensive knowledge and practical experience with public and private sector organisations throughout the world. He is Managing Partner of Elbury Enterprises, a Visiting Professor at the Kingston University Business School & has held many Executive and Non Executive Director positions of companies in the UK and US. His international activities as a scientist are built on decades of experience with NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena California through participation in space programmes to explore the Earth and planets; also at several US Universities, UCL and Imperial College in the UK where he held senior positions. He has received awards from NASA and the Royal Meteorological Society for his scientific activities; the scientist of the decade award in 1989 from ITN TV for his broadcasting and many business awards.

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