David A Rothery teaches geology and planetary science at the Open University, where he has been Director of Teaching for the Department of Earth Sciences since 1999. He began his research career at the Open University in 1978 when he mapped a large tract of ocean-floor rocks now exposed in the Oman mountains in Arabia. Since then, he has performed fieldwork in many parts of the globe, including North, Central and South America, Australia, Hawaii and Sicily. He has also helped to characterise the landing site for the Beagle 2 lander which is due to land on Mars at the end of 2003. His current specialisms are active volcanoes and geological processes on other planets.