James’s thesis used orbital spacecraft data from that planet to better characterize where, when, and how it might have been wet—and possibly habitable—in the past. His findings helped to guide the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity to its current location and aided landing site selection for the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity scheduled to launch in November.
James is currently an Assistant Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research continues to focus on characterizing habitable worlds beyond Earth. He is Co-Investigator on a camera selected for flight on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter under development by ESA and NASA for launch in 2016. James is an enthusiast of human spaceflight and of efforts to expand privately funded science, exploration, and tourism in space.