Skip to Main Content
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Space Studies Board
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
About the SSB
Board Members & Meetings
News & Events
Standing Committees
Decadal Surveys
Current Projects
Completed Projects
Reports By Year
Quarterly Newsletter
Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Internships

Contact Us

Space Studies Board
500 Fifth Street NW
Washington, DC
Phone: (202) 334-3477
Fax: (202) 334-3701

Bookmark and Share 

  Follow us on Twitter 

Board Members and Meetings


About the SSB


The Space Studies Board (SSB) was established in 1958 to serve as the focus of the interests and responsibilities in space research for the National Academies. The SSB provides an independent, authoritative forum for information and advice on all aspects of space science and applications, and it serves as the focal point within the National Academies for activities on space research. It oversees advisory studies and program assessments, facilitates international research coordination, and promotes communications on space science and science policy between the research community, the federal government, and the interested public. The SSB also serves as the U.S. National Committee for the International Council for Science Committee on Space Research (COSPAR).

Origins of the Space Studies Board:

Letter announcing the formation of the Space Science Board
(Page 1 and Page 2), from Detlev W. Bronk, president of the National Academy of Sciences, to Lloyd V. Berkner, president of the Associated Universities, Inc.

1958 Press Release


Upcoming Board Meetings

November 7-9, 2018, Irvine, CA
View Agenda

April 30-May 2, 2019, Washington, DC
November 6-8, 2019, Irvine, CA
April 28-30, 2020, Washington, DC
November 4-6, 2020, Irvine, CA

 Archive of past board meetings


Current Members

Fiona Harrison, Chair, California Institute of Technology
James H. Crocker, Vice Chair, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (retired)
Gregory P. Asner, Carnegie Institution for Science
Jeff M. Bingham, Consultant
Adam Burrows, Princeton University
Mary Lynne Dittmar, Dittmar Associates
Jeff Dozier, University of California, Santa Barbara
Joseph Fuller Jr., Futron Corporation (retired)
Sarah Gibson, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Victoria Hamilton, Southwest Research Institute
Chryssa Kouveliotou, The George Washington University
Dennis P. Lettenmaier, University of California, Los Angeles
Rosaly M. Lopes, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Stephen J. Mackwell, Universities Space Research Association
David J. McComas, Princeton University
Larry Paxton, Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory
Eliot Quataert, University of California, Berkeley
Barbara Sherwood Lollar, University of Toronto
Harlan E. Spence, University of New Hampshire
Mark H. Thiemens, University of California, San Diego
Erika Wagner, Blue Origin
Paul Wooster, Space Exploration Technologies
Edward L. Wright, University of California, Los Angeles


Back to top

Former Space Studies Board Chairs

2014-2016 David N. Spergel, Princeton University and Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Simons Foundation
2008-2014 Charles F. Kennel, Chair, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego
2003-2008 Lennard A. Fisk, University of Michigan
2000–2003 John H. McElroy, (deceased) University of Texas at Arlington
1994–2000 Claude R. Canizares, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1988–1994 Louis J. Lanzerotti, AT&T Bell Laboratories (retired); New Jersey Institute of Technology
1982–1988 Thomas M. Donahue, (deceased) University of Michigan
1976-1982 A.G.W. Cameron, (deceased) Harvard College Observatory
1973–1976 Richard M. Goody, Harvard University
1970–1973 Charles H. Townes, (deceased) University of California at Berkeley
1962–1969 Harry H. Hess, (deceased) Princeton University
1958-1962 Lloyd V. Berkner, (deceased) Graduate Research Center, Dallas, Texas

Former Space Studies Board Vice Chairs 

2014-2018 Robert D. Braun, University of Colorado Boulder
2010-2014 John Klineberg, Space Systems/Loral (retired)
2006-2010 A. Thomas Young, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired) 
2000–2006 George A. Paulikas, The Aerospace Corporation (retired)

Back to top

Executive Committee

The Space Studies Board's Executive Committee (XCOM) is a subset of the full Board, and acts on the Board's behalf between its regular meetings. The XCOM assists the chair with strategic planning, consults on Board and committee membership, and develops agendas for Board meetings. The XCOM usually meets, separate from the full Board, in late summer.


Fiona Harrison, Chair, California Institute of Technology
James H. Crocker, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (retired)
Jeff M. Bingham, Consultant
Mary Lynne Dittmar, Dittmar Associates
Joseph Fuller Jr., Futron Corporation (retired)
Sarah Gibson, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Chryssa Kouveliotou, The George Washington University
Rosaly M. Lopes, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Mark H. Thiemens, University of California, San Diego

 Back to top


Ex-Officio members

Alan Epstein
Pratt & Whitney
(Chair, ASEB)
Athena Coustenis
National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) of France
(Chair, ESSC) 

Back to top

SSB Member Biographies

(NAS), Chair, is the Benjamin M. Rosen Professor of Physics, and the Kent and Joyce Kresa Leadership Chair of the Division of Physics and Mathematics at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. She received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, and went to Caltech in 1993 as a Robert A. Millikan Prize Fellow in Experimental Physics. Harrison's primary research interests are in experimental and observational high-energy astrophysics. She also has an active observational program in gamma-ray, X-ray and optical observations of gamma-ray bursts, active galaxies, and neutron stars. Dr. Harrison is the principal investigator of NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), a small explorer-class mission launched in 2012. She was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award in 2000, was named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News and the Kennedy School of Government in 2008, and received the NASA Outstanding Public Leadership Medal in 2013. In 2015, she was awarded the Bruno Rossi Prize of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society, and in 2016 she won the Harrie Massey Award from the Committee on Space Research. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences in 2014. Harrison is a member on the Division Committee on Engineering and Physical Sciences, was a member of the Space Studies Board, and chaired the Committee on an Assessment of the Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (AFTA) Mission Concepts. She also served as a member of the decadal survey committee on astronomy and astrophysics that authored the 2010 report, New Worlds New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Return to roster

JAMES H. CROCKER, NAE, is vice president and general manager, retired, of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. The focus of his career has been the design, construction, and management of very large, complex systems and instruments for astrophysics and space exploration both in the U.S. and internationally. These include space missions both human and robotic such as Apollo 17, Skylab, Orion; missions to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, asteroids, the moon, comets, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope. In ground-based astronomy, he was program manager for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and head of the Program Office for the European VLT, an array of optically phased 8-meter telescope in the Atacama Desert in Chile. He Is a past board chair of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and a past board chair of the Universities Space Research Association. He is a fellow of the AIAA and fellow of the AAS.  He is a full member of the International Academy of Astronautics. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Mr. Crocker earned a BEE from the Georgia Institute of Technology, an M.S. in engineering from University of Alabama in Huntsville and a M.S. in engineering management from the Johns Hopkins University. He has previously served on the Academies Aerospace Engineering Peer Committee and the Committee on Extraterrestral Sample Analysis Facilities.
Return to roster

(NAS) is a staff scientist in the Department of Global Ecology of the Carnegie Institution for Science, and a Professor in the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University. He is an ecologist recognized for his work on biospheric processes, land use and climate change at regional to global scales. Asner maintains a research program in Earth spectroscopy and laser-based imaging with airborne and orbital remote sensing instrumentation. Asner graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1991, followed by service as an officer in the United States Navy. He earned masters and doctorate degrees in geography and biology, respectively, from the University of Colorado in 1997. Asner has served in numerous national and international posts including the NASA Senior Review Committee, U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Steering Group, U.N. Diversitas Program, NASA-Brazil LBA Steering Committee, and as a Senior Fellow for the U.S. State Department. He is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, NASA Early Career and Group Achievement awards, and an Outstanding Contributions Award from the Association of American Geographers. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Ecological Society of America. In 2013, he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He has previously served on the Academies  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Editorial Board Committee Service, the Decadal Survey for Earth Science and Applications from Space: Panel on Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems and Natural Resource Management and the Temporary Nominating Group for Class VI: Applied Biological, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
Return to roster
JEFF M. BINGHAM is a consultant. He is retired from the U.S. Senate where he served as chief of staff for Senator Jake Garn (R-UT), from December 1974 to August 1990 and throughout that service was heavily involved in the Senator's space-related activity, as Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate VA-HUD-IA Subcommittee on Appropriations, which had responsibility for NASA appropriations. From September of 1990 to April 1991, Mr. Bingham was a NASA consultant and participant in the Synthesis Group, chaired by former astronaut General Tom Stafford, charged with developing alternative architectures for missions to the moon and mars under the Space Exploration Initiative. From May 1991 to July 1994, Mr. Bingham was a senior policy analyst for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and supported the Johnson Space Center in strategic planning and exploration policy activities. In 1994, Mr. Bingham became the legislative coordinator for the International Space Station Program, serving in that role until September 1996. From April 1996 to April 1999, he managed the Space Station Information Center (aka "War Room") at NASA Headquarters. In December 2000, Mr. Bingham supported the Bush-Cheney NASA Transition Team, and in January 2001 was appointed by the White House Personnel Office as special assistant to NASA chief of staff Courtney A. Stadd. From May 2001 to May 2002, Mr. Bingham served as acting associate administrator, then as associate administrator for legislative affairs, at NASA Headquarters. In May 2002, he was appointed senior advisor/special assistant to the NASA administrator for policy and history. Mr. Bingham left NASA in April, 2004, and spent a year writing, speaking and consulting. In April, 2005, Mr. Bingham accepted the appointment as Staff director for the Subcommittee on Science and Space of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which had authorization and oversight jurisdiction for NASA and the National Science Foundation. With the reorganization of the 110th Congress, Mr. Bingham became the senior republican staff member and staff director of the reconstituted Subcommittee on Space, Aeronautics and Related Sciences. In the 111th Congress Mr. Bingham assumed the role of senior advisor on space and aeronautics, republican staff, of the full committee on commerce, science, and transportation, with additional lead responsibility for space programs in the jurisdiction of the subcommittee. During his tenure at the committee, Mr. Bingham had the lead republican staff responsibility for preparing the content and securing the passage and enactment of the 2005, 2008 and 2010 NASA Authorization Acts, which established the foundation and authority for NASA’s evolving—and current—programs. He has a B.S. in political science from the University of Utah.
Return to roster

ADAM S. BURROWS (NAS) is a professor at Princeton University in the Department of Astronomical Sciences. He is also director of the Princeton Planets and Life Certificate Program, on the board of trustees of the Aspen Center for Physics, and is a fellow of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science. His primary research interests are supernova theory, exoplanet and brown dwarf theory, planetary atmospheres, computational astrophysics, and nuclear astrophysics. Well known as a pioneer in the theory of exoplanets, brown dwarfs, and supernovae, Dr. Burrows has written numerous fundamental and influential papers and reviews on these subjects during the past 30 years. He has collaborated with more than 200 co-authors on more than 350 papers and given more than 300 invited talks and colloquia. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a fellow of the American Physical Society, the 2010 Beatrice M. Tinsley Centennial Professor, and a former Alfred P. Sloan fellow. He has been a consultant for the American Museum of Natural History in New York and served as the chair of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics Advisory Board, as co-chair of NASA’s Universe Subcommittee, as chair of NASA’s Origins Subcommittee, as co-chair of NASA’s Strategic Roadmapping Committee “Search for Earth-like Planets,” as co-chair of NASA’s Origins/SEUS Roadmapping committee, and as a primary author of NASA 2003 Origins Roadmap. He received his B.S. in physics from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has served as chair of the Academies’ Board on Physics and Astronomy as well as serving on the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Committee on the Review of Progress Toward the Decadal Survey Vision in New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, and the Committee on Rare Isotope Science Assessment.
Return to roster

MARY LYNNE DITTMAR is president and CEO of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, an industry trade group of nearly 70 companies supporting NASA’s programs in deep space human exploration and science as well as the ISS. Previously, she was president and CEO of Dittmar Associates, an engineering and strategy firm she founded in 2004. Prior to that time Dr. Dittmar worked for the Boeing Company where she coordinated Space Technology Research and Development for International Space Station (ISS) applications and managed the Flight Operations group, overseeing development of procedures for assembly, activation and checkout of roughly one third of the ISS assembly flights. She also served as Boeing’s first chief scientist for commercial payloads. More recently she served as Strategic and Policy Advisor to CASIS, which operates the ISS National Laboratory. She is a board member of American Astronautical Society, and is a member of the Economics Technical Committee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, where she is also an associate fellow. She earned her Ph.D. for human factors in psychology and Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. She has served as a member of the Academies Space Studies Board and the Committee on Human Spaceflight.
Return to roster

JEFF DOZIER is a Distinguished Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He founded the Bren School and served as its first dean for six years. His research interests are in the fields of snow hydrology, Earth-system science, remote sensing, and information systems. He has led interdisciplinary studies in two areas: one addresses hydrologic science, environmental engineering, and social science in the water environment; the other involves the integration of environmental science and remote sensing with computer science and technology. He was a principal investigator on the Landsat 4 and 5 programs, when the satellites carrying the first Landsat Thematic Mapper instruments were launched. He served as the senior project scientist for NASA’s Earth Observing System when the configuration for the system was established. He is a fellow of the AGU and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honorary professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a recipient of both the NASA/Department of the Interior William T. Pecora Award and the NASA Public Service Medal, the winner of the Jim Gray Award from Microsoft for his achievements in data-intensive science, and the John Nye Lecturer for the AGU. He also helped Disney Animation Studios win the 2014 Oscar for Best Animated Feature, for the film Frozen. He received a Ph.D. in geography in 1973 from the University of Michigan. He has previously served on many Academy Committees, including the Planning Committee on Training Students to Extract Value from Big Data: A Workshop, the Committee on the Implementation of a Sustained Land Imaging Program as chair, and the Committee on Indicators for Understanding Global Climate Change. 
Return to roster

 JOSEPH FULLER, JR. . is the retired founder, president, and CEO of Futron Corporation, a management consulting firm to aerospace, telecommunications, and other technology enterprises. Before founding Futron, Mr. Fuller spent 20 years at NASA as an aerospace systems engineer, project manager, and senior executive. He is experienced in the design, development, and operations of both human-piloted and robotic spacecraft. Through his company he was actively engaged in wide-ranging government, commercial, and international aerospace initiatives. Currently, he is a member of the Space Studies Board and Goddard Space Flight Center's Visiting Committee. Mr. Fuller is a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and former member of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Engineering Advisory Board, NOAA’s Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing, NASA’s Project Management Mission Operations Working Group, and on the board of the Challenger Center for Science Education. He has a B.S. in physics from Texas Southern University and an M.B.A. from the University of Houston. He has served on a number of Academies activities including the Committee on Cost Growth in NASA Earth and Space Science Missions, the Committee on NASA's Beyond Einstein Program: An Architecture for Implementation, and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board.
Return to roster

SARAH GIBSON is a senior scientist and head of the Solar Frontiers section at the High Altitude Observatory (HAO) of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Her positions prior to her arrival at HAO included a 1-year visit to Cambridge University as a NATO/NSF post-doctoral fellow, and nearly four years at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center—first as a National Research Council (NRC) associate and then as a research assistant professor at the Catholic University of America. Her research centers on solar drivers of the terrestrial environment: from short-term space weather drivers such as coronal mass ejections (with emphasis on precursor magnetic structure), to long-term solar cycle variation (with emphasis on the Sun-Earth system at solar minimum). She has led and coordinated international working groups on both of these subjects for the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) and International Astronomical Union (IAU). Dr. Gibson was the recipient of the AAS-SPD 2005 Karen Harvey Prize. Dr. Gibson obtained her Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is currently co-chair of the Academies Committee on Solar and Space Physics, and Vice President of IAU Division E (Sun and Heliosphere). In past years she was a scientific editor for the Astrophysical Journal, and served on the Heliophysics Subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council, the AURA Solar Observatory Council, and a variety of Academies committees, including the committee for the 2012 Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics).
Return to roster
VICTORIA E. HAMILTON is a section manager at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado in the Department of Space Studies. Dr. Hamilton has extensive experience with laboratory spectroscopy and Mars data analysis, as an affiliate of the Mars Global Surveyor TES science team, and as a participating scientist on the Mars Odyssey and Mars Science Laboratory missions. She is a science team co-investigator and deputy instrument scientist on the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission planned for launch in 2016. She has published on laboratory mineral and meteorite spectroscopy, numerical modeling of infrared spectra, Martian surface composition, Martian atmospheric aerosol composition, and surface thermophysical properties. Dr. Hamilton has built, operated, and managed a NASA-supported spectroscopy laboratory equipped with three spectrometers for measuring visible, near infrared, and thermal infrared properties of rocks, minerals, and meteorites in reflectance and emission. She has received the NASA Group Achievement Award for the MSL Science Office Development and Operations Team. She received her Ph.D. in geology from Arizona State University. She was a member of the Academies Committee on Cost Growth in NASA Earth and Space Science Missions, the Committee on NASA Science Mission Extensions (co-chair) and the Committee on Large Strategic NASA Science Missions: Science Value and Role in a Balanced Portfolio.
Return to roster

CHRYSSA KOUVELIOTOU (NAS) is a professor in Astrophysics in the Department of Physics at The George Washington University (GWU) and Director of the GWU Astronomy, Physics, and Statistics Institute of Sciences (APSIS). Before joining GWU in 2015, she was at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama from which she retired as a Senior Technologist of High-Energy Astrophysics (Senior Executive core). Dr. Kouveliotou’s research interests include high-energy astrophysical transients, in particular gamma ray bursts (GRBs) and magnetars, which she discovered in 1998; she has also published papers in X-ray binaries, solar flares and merging galaxy clusters. Dr. Kouveliotou has initiated large research projects in the U.S. and Europe including Xenia, a cosmology mission proposed to the 2010 decadal survey. She is currently an affiliate scientist of the NASA/Swift and Fermi missions. Dr. Kouveliotou has over 450-refereed publications, including a book on GRBs (co-editor); her Hirsh-index is 100 with a current total of 48,929 citations (Google Scholar; for refereed and non-refereed publications). In 2013 Dr. Kouveliotou chaired the team of the 30-year Roadmap of NASA’s SMD/Astrophysics Division. Dr. Kouveliotou has received multiple awards, including the Descartes Prize, the Rossi and Heineman Prize, and she has been decorated by the Greek Government as a Commander of the Order of the Honor, for excellence in science. She has a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the Technical University of Munich, a M.Sc. in astronomy from the University of Sussex, and two honorary degrees, from the Universities of Sussex (UK) and Amsterdam (NL). She is a member of the US National Academy and of the US Academy of Arts and Sciences and a foreign /corresponding member of the Dutch Royal Academy and the Greek National Academy. She has been a Councilor and a Vice President of the American Astronomical Society and a president of the HEAD (AAS) and DAP (APS); she is currently the President of Division D of the IAU.  She is currently a member of the Executive Council of the NAS and the Space Studies Board and of the Committee on Council Affairs (CCA) of the AAAS.  
Return to roster

DENNIS P. LETTENMAIER (NAE) is a distinguished professor at University of California, Los Angeles.His research and area of expertise is hydrological modeling and prediction; water and climate; and hydrologic remote sensing. Prior to his time at UCLA, Dr. Lettenmaier was a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington 1976-2014. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1975. Dr. Lettenmaier was the chair of the Water Resources subpanel and steering committee member for the 2007 Decadal Survey of Earth Science and Applications from Space. He is an author or co-author of over 300 journal articles. He was the first chief editor of the American Meteorological Society Journal of Hydrometeorology, and is a past president of the Hydrology Section of the American Geophysical Union. He is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He earned his Ph.D. from University of Washington. He has served on the Academies Special Fields and Interdisciplinary Engineering Peer Committee, the Committee on the Implementation of a Sustained Land Imaging Program, and the Committee on the Assessment of NASA's Earth Science Programs.
Return to roster

ROSALY M. LOPES is a senior research scientist and manager of the Planetary Science Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (JPL). She has been at JPL in various positions since 1991. Prior to that, she was a postdoctoral fellow at JPL. Dr. Lopes was a member of the Galileo Flight Project, a mission to Jupiter, responsible for observations of Jupiter's volcanic moon Io, using Galileo's Near-infrared mapping spectrometer. She has been a member of the Cassini Flight Project, with the role of investigation scientist on the Cassini Titan Radar Mapper Team. She researches the geology of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, particularly its strange ice volcanoes. Dr. Lopes has written more than one hundred and twenty peer-reviewed scientific publications and seven books. She was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and fellow of the Geological Society of America for her contributions to the studies of volcanism on Earth and the planets. She is also an elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics. She chairs the Outer Planets Task Group of the International Astronomical Union's working group for planetary system nomenclature. She served as elected chair of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, the world's largest organization for professional planetary scientists. Dr. Lopes won the American Astronomical Society's Carl Sagan medal for excellence in communicating science to the public. Among her other awards are the Lowell Thomas award for exploration from The Explorers Club, the Wings Women of Discovery Air and Space award, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the Women at Work Medal of Excellence, the Latinas in Science medal from the Comision Feminil Mexicana Nacional, and the 1997 Woman of the Year in Science and Technology Award from the Miami-based GEMS television. She obtained a Ph.D. from University College London, researching volcanism on Earth and Mars. Dr. Lopes has served on the Academies Committee on New Opportunities in Solar System Exploration and the Committee on Planetary Protection Standards for Icy Bodies in the Outer Solar System.
Return to roster

STEPHEN J. MACKWELL is the corporate director, science programs, for the Universities Space Research Association. Prior to that role, he served as the director of the Lunar and Planetary Institute. Dr. Mackwell earlier served as the director of the Bayerisches Geoinstitut at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. He has served as program director for geophysics, Division of Earth Sciences, National Science Foundation (NSF); as member, group chief, and panel chair of the review panel for NASA’s Planetary Geology and Geophysics and Solar System Workings Programs; as expert reviewer for the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Geosciences Research Program; and as expert consultant for the NSF Division of Earth Sciences. Dr. Mackwell conducts laboratory-based research into the physical, chemical, and mechanical properties of geological materials under conditions relevant to the mantle and crust of Earth and other terrestrial planets. He received his Ph.D. from the Australian National University. He has previously served on the Academies Committee on New Opportunities in Solar System Exploration, the Committee to Review Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies, the Committee on the Planetary Science Decadal Survey, the Committee on Lessons Learned in Decadal Planning in Space Science: A Workshop, the Committee on Assessment of NASA Science Mission Directorate 2014 Science Plan, the Committee on Survey of Surveys: Lessons Learned in Decadal Planning in Space Science, the Standing Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science, and the Committee on the Restructured Research and Analysis Programs of NASA’s Planetary Science Division.
Return to roster

DAVID J. MCCOMAS is Princeton University vice president for the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and professor of Astrophysical Sciences. He is the principal investigator for NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) Mission, the Two Wide-Angle Imaging Neutral-Atom Spectrometers (TWINS) Explorer Mission-of-Opportunity, the Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun (ISʘIS) instrument suite on Solar Probe Plus and the Ulysses Solar Wind Observations Over the Poles of the Sun (SWOOPS) experiment; he is also the lead co-investigator for the Solar Wind Electron Proton Alpha Monitor (SWEPAM) instrument on the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) and the solar wind analyzer and for the New Horizons mission to Pluto (SWAP) as well as co-investigator on numerous other space missions. Dr. McComas has invented a variety of instruments and missions for space applications and holds seven patents. He is an author of over 600 scientific papers in the refereed literature spanning topics in heliospheric, magnetospheric, solar, and planetary science as well as space instrument and mission development. These papers have generated over 26,000 citations. Dr. McComas is a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He has received numerous awards and accolades including the 2014 COSPAR Space Science Award, a NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal, and AGU’s James B. Macelwane Medal. Dr. McComas serves on the board of directors of the Brookhaven National Laboratory Science Associates. He recently served on the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) and chaired the NAC Science Committee (NAC-SC); previous service includes chairing NASA’s Sun-Earth Connections Advisory Subcommittee (SECAS), chairing two Solar Probe and Solar Probe Plus Science and Technology Definition Teams, and serving as a member of NASA’s Space Science Advisory Committee (SScAC). He received his B.S. in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ph.D. in Geophysics and Space Physics from UCLA. He has previously served on the Academies Task Group on Research Prioritization, the Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Research and the Committee on Space Science Technology Planning.
Return to roster

 LARRY PAXTON is a member of the principal professional staff at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) and the head of the Geospace and Earth Science group. Dr. Paxton is the principal investigator on seven instruments that have flown in space. His research interests include space science, space technology, satellite- and ground-based mission design, the implications of global climate change for the stability of nations; and innovation. He is particularly interested in new instruments that characterize the geospace environment. He has published over 260 papers on these subjects. He is an Academician member of the International Academy of Astronautics and the president of the American Geophysical Union’s Space Physics and Aeronomy section (2017-2019). Awards include JHU/APL Publication of the Year Awards; JHU/APL Government Purpose Invention of the Year Nominee; and Best Paper – 7th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation. Other recent relevant experience includes JHU’s Global Water Institute and the JHU Earth Environment Sustainability and Health Institute as well as the NASA Heliophysics Roadmap Committee; NSF Aeronomy Review Panel and NSF Aeronomy Committee of Visitors; chair of IAA Commission 4 and Small Satellite Program Committee. He earned his Ph.D. in astrophysical, planetary, and atmospheric sciences from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He has served on several committees of the Academies, including the Committee on the Effects of Solar Variability on Earth's Climate: A Workshop, and the Committee on a Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) Panel on Atmosphere-Ionosphere-Magnetosphere Interactions.
Return to roster

is a professor of astronomy and physics at University of California, Berkeley and the director of Berkeley's Theoretical Astrophysics Center. Dr. Quataert is an astrophysics theorist who works on a wide range of problems, from the astrophysics of stars and black holes to how galaxies form. He has received a number of awards for his research, including the Sloan Fellowship, Packard Fellowship, Simons Investigator position, and the Helen B. Warner Prize of the AAS. He is also a highly regarded teacher and public lecturer. Dr. Quataert received his Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University. He served on the Academies Astro2010 Panel on Stars and Stellar Evolution, the Committee on Plasma 2010: An Assessment of and Outlook for Plasma and Fusion Science, as well as the Plasma Science (standing) Committee.
Return to roster

BARBARA SHERWOOD LOLLAR (CC, FRSC) is a university professor in Earth sciences at the University of Toronto. She is research chair in Isotopes of the Earth and Environment, and director of the Stable Isotope Laboratory. Dr. Sherwood Lollar has published extensively in research on stable isotope geochemistry, the fate of fluids and gases (CO2, CH4, and H2) in ancient fracture waters in the Earth’s crust, and the nature of deep subsurface microbial life. She specializes in principles for distinguishing the origin and fate of methane (abiotic, thermogenic, and biotic) and in analog research related to astrobiology and the preservation of subsurface life in deep saline fracture waters in the Earth’s crust. She has been a recipient of many academic awards including most recently the 2012 Eni Award for Protection of the Environment, the 2012 Geological Society of America Geomicrobiology and Geobiology Division Award, and the 2016 NSERC John C. Polanyi Research Award (one of Canada’s highest honors for research). She was named a fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2015. She has served on science advisory working groups including the NASA/ESA Joint Science Working Group (JSWG) 2018 Joint Rover Mission; the MEPAG E2E-iSAG committee for the 2018 Mars Rover Mission, and the NASA Mid-Range Rover Science Analysis Group (MRR-SAG 2009). In Canada she has served on the Canadian Space Agency - Space Exploration Advisory Committee and Space Exploration Planetary Consultation Committee, and as Board member for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC). She earned her Ph.D. in Earth sciences from the University of Waterloo and undergraduate degree in Geological sciences from Harvard University. She has served as a member of the Academies Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Sciences, the Committee on the Origin and Evolution of Life, and the Committee on Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars.
Return to roster

HARLAN E. SPENCE is the director of the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, and also professor of physics, at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Dr. Spence leads a research group that studies the physics of cosmic plasmas, from the Sun's corona to interplanetary space to Earth's upper atmosphere, using experimental and modeling techniques. Dr. Spence and his research team develop and use physics-based, numerical models to understand the powerful dynamics of interacting solar and planetary plasmas ("space weather") and the resultant deleterious effects on space technologies and astronauts. Dr. Spence was co-investigator on two energetic particle instruments on the NASA Polar satellite and is co-investigator on a suite of energetic particle instruments on the recently launched NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale mission. He is deputy principal investigator on a cosmic ray sensor on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission and is principal investigator of a comprehensive charged particle instrument suite on NASA's Van Allen Probes mission. Finally, Spence is principal investigator of the NSF FIREBIRD-II CubeSat mission exploring the physics of relativistic electrons which reach Earth's upper atmosphere from the radiation belts. Dr. Spence worked at The Aerospace Corporation. Dr. Spence joined the faculty at Boston University as an assistant professor of astronomy and moved up through the ranks to full professor and department chair before moving to UNH. He is a recipient of an NSF Young Investigator Award, received the Wisneski Award for Excellence in Teaching at Boston University, received two Editor’s Citations for Excellence in Refereeing from AGU publications, and has earned numerous NASA Group Achievement Awards. Spence earned his Ph.D. in geophysics and space physics from the University of California, Los Angeles. He served on the Academies Committee on Solar and Space Physics, the Solar-Wind Magnetospheric Interactions Decadal Survey Panel, and the Steering Committee of 2013-2022 Decal Survey in Solar and Space Physics.
Return to roster

MARK H THIEMENS (NAS) is dean of physical sciences, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, and Chancellor's Associates Chair in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. His research is centered on use of the mass independent fractionation process for stable isotopes to study the origin and evolution of the solar system, definition of the source and transformation of greenhouse gases in the troposphere, chemistry of the stratosphere and mesosphere, chemistry of the ancient Martian atmosphere, and the origin and evolution of oxygen-ozone and life in the Earth's Precambrian. He earned his Ph.D. in geophysics from Florida State University. His extensive NRC service includes membership on the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, PNAS Editorial Board, and the Committee on the Review of Planetary Protection Requirements for Mars Sample-Return Missions.
Return to roster
serves as business development manager for Blue Origin, a private firm developing vehicles to enable tourists and researchers to access space at dramatically lower cost and increased reliability. Prior to joining Blue Origin, Dr. Wagner worked with the X PRIZE Foundation as senior director of exploration prize development and founding executive director of the X PRIZE Lab@MIT. Previously, she served at MIT as science director and executive director of the Mars Gravity Biosatellite Program, a multi-university spacecraft development initiative to investigate the physiological effects of reduced gravity. She was previously a member of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s Suborbital Applications Researchers Group, furthering the research and education potential of commercial suborbital launch vehicles. Today, she serves on the Boards of the Museum of Flight and American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR). Her research spanned both human and mammalian adaptation to microgravity, partial gravity, and centrifugation; as well as organizational innovation and prize theory. She earned her Ph.D. in bioastronautics from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.
Return to roster

is the Principal Mars Development Engineer at Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), where he is a lead in the technical development of Mars architecture and vehicles, including precursor activities and human-scale systems. He previously served as SpaceX’s Manager of Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control, overseeing the integrated system design, fault tolerance, and vehicle performance associated with Dragon missions to the International Space Station. While at SpaceX, Wooster has led the development of a diverse set of capabilities, including space-to-space communications, relative navigation, and proximity operations with the ISS. He previously served as a Research Scientist in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where his research included the design and evaluation of a wide range of human exploration system architectures and the development of strategies for affordable human exploration of the Moon and Mars. While at MIT, Paul also led a multi-university team in the preliminary design of a small, partial gravity research satellite and conducted initial prototype work on a number of spacecraft and payload sub-systems. He earned both his B.S. and M.S. in aerospace engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has not previously served on an Academies Committee.
Return to roster
EDWARD L. WRIGHT (NAS) is a professor of physics and astronomy at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles. At UCLA, Dr. Wright has been the Data Team Leader on the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), a co-investigator on the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), an interdisciplinary scientist on the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the principal investigator on the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). Dr. Wright is well-known for his Cosmology Tutorial website for the informed public, and his web-based cosmology calculator for professional astronomers. Dr. Wright is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has recently served on the Academies committee to study Autonomy Research in Civil Aviation, the committee to study NASA’s planned Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope – Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets program (WFIRST-AFTA), the committee to study doing decadal survey science with Cubesats, and the committee to make a mid-decade assessment of progress toward the 2010 Astronomy & Astrophysics Decadal Survey.
 Return to roster