Christopher P. McKay ’75

College of Engineering

Christopher P. McKay is a planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, studying planetary atmospheres, astrobiology, and terraforming. McKay majored in physics at Florida Atlantic University, where he also studied mechanical engineering, graduating in 1975, and received his PhD in astrogeophysics from the University of Colorado in 1982.

His current research focuses on the evolution of the solar system and the origin of life. He is also actively involved in planning for future Mars missions including human exploration. Chris has been involved in research in Mars-like environments on Earth, traveling to the Antarctic dry valleys, Siberia, the Canadian Arctic, and the Atacama, Namib, & Sahara deserts to study life in these Mars-like environments. He was a co-investigator on the Huygens probe to Saturn’s moon Titan in 2005, the Mars Phoenix lander mission in 2008, and the current Mars Science Laboratory mission (2012).