Earth and planetary sciences, including definitive studies of the collisional origin of the Moon and the process of impact cratering. His other major contributions include acoustic fluidization, dynamic topography, and planetary tectonics. He is active in astrobiological studies relating chiefly to microorganism exchange between the terrestrial planets. Dr. Melosh is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has served on the NRC Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration.

JOSEPH H. ROTHENBERG is currently an independent consultant. From 2002 until 2009 he was president and a member of the board of directors of Universal Space Network. From 1964 until 1983 he held space program technical, project, and executive management positions in industry. In 1983 he joined the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and in 1995 became center director, where he was responsible for space systems development and operations and for the execution of the scientific research program for NASA Earth-orbiting science missions. In January 1998, he moved to NASA Headquarters where he was named associate administrator for space flight and was in charge of NASA’s human exploration and development of space. As associate administrator, Mr. Rothenberg was responsible for establishing policies and direction for the space shuttle and ISS programs, as well as for space communications and expendable launch services. He is widely recognized for leading the development and successful completion of the first servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope, which corrected the telescope’s flawed optics. Mr. Rothenberg served on the NRC Committee on Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Committee on Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration, and the Beyond Einstein Program Assessment Committee.


FAITH VILAS, Chair (see above)

PAUL ABELL is a research scientist employed by the Planetary Science Institute and assigned to the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate at NASA Johnson Space Center. He has been studying NEOs and comet-asteroid transition objects for more than 8 years and has numerous scientific publications. His primary scientific interest is in determining the physical characteristics of NEOs using ground-based telescopes and spacecraft sensors. Dr. Abell was a telemetry officer for the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous spacecraft Near-Infrared Spectrometer team and is a member of the Near-Infrared Spectrograph science team for the Hayabusa spacecraft operated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. He is also a visiting astronomer at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility at Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii and has had extensive experience in obtaining high-quality spectral data of NEOs. Dr. Abell was recently involved in an internal NASA study to examine the feasibility of sending a human-led mission to a NEO using the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.

ROBERT F. ARENTZ is an engineer who has worked at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation for 34 years and now works in Ball’s Civil and Operational Space Division. For the past 3 years he has led a small team exploring ground-augmented space-based solutions using high-heritage flight hardware and commercially available sensors to detect NEOs. He and his team looked at a variety of observatory orbits for detecting hard-to-detect “sunward” NEOs. He and his team have also created cost models for their most recent infrared detection designs. For the past 10 years, Mr. Arentz has participated in several concept studies for possible Discovery-class deep-space missions. His program experience includes work on Ball’s Skylab instruments, the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, the Cosmic Origins Background Explorer, the near-infrared camera NICMOS now on the Hubble Space Telescope, and he contributed to some elements of the Spitzer Space Telescope.

LANCE A.M. BENNER is a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, where he specializes in the radar imaging of NEOs. He was an NRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for 3 years beginning in 1995 and has been a JPL employee since 1998. He has been the first author or has co-authored more than 40 papers on NEOs, main-belt asteroids, and comets. He is a frequent observer at NSF’s Arecibo Observatory and at NASA’s Goldstone Solar System Radar.

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