Earth sciences isn’t just for Earth
Truth be told, W. Bruce Banerdt dreamed of becoming an astronaut. Space fascinated him as a young boy, and the thought of rockets and satellites surging through the universe sparked curiosity and excitement.
But Banerdt’s academic career pushed in other directions. He earned an undergraduate degree in physics in 1975 followed by a PhD in geological sciences in 1983, both from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and he seemed tethered to studying the history, nature, materials and processes of Earth, not outer space. That is until a graduate school colleague mentioned a summer internship studying the moon at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.