National Academies Press: OpenBook

Assessment of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (2008)

Chapter: Appendix B: Committee Biographies

« Previous: Appendix A: Letter Requesting This Study
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Committee Biographies." National Research Council. 2008. Assessment of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12071.
Page 67
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Committee Biographies." National Research Council. 2008. Assessment of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12071.
Page 68

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B Committee Biographies JOHN M. KLINEBERG (Chair), an independent aerospace consultant, is the retired president of Space Systems/Loral (SS/L). Before assuming the presidency of SS/L, Dr. Klineberg served as executive vice president for Loral’s Globalstar program, where he successfully led the development, production, and deployment of the Globalstar satellite constellation used for telephone services. Prior to joining Loral in 1995, Dr. Klineberg spent 25 years at NASA, where he served in a variety of management and technical positions. He was the director of the Goddard Space Flight Center, director of the Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center, deputy associate administra- tor for Aeronautics and Space Technology at NASA headquarters, and a research scientist at the Ames Research Center. Before beginning his career at NASA, he conducted fundamental studies in fluid dynamics at the California Institute of Technology and worked at the Douglas Aircraft Company and the Grumman Aircraft Company. He is currently a member of the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, and he served on the Committee on Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble Space Telescope. LUANN BECKER is an associate researcher in the Institute for Crustal Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her primary research areas cover the study of Permian-Triassic rocks and the search for life on Mars. Dr. Becker participated in an expedition to Antarctica in search of clues that can confirm activity of past life on Earth. Her current interests focus on the development of the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer, an instrument selected for inclusion in the payload of the European Space Agency’s ExoMars, a rover/lander mission scheduled for launch to Mars in 2013. She is best known for her work showing that fullerenes are present in meteorites and for studies evaluating the source of the organic material found in the martian meteorite ALH 84001. In addition to serving on the NRC committee that authored the report Life in the Universe: An Assessment of U.S. and Inter- national Programs in Astrobiology (2003), Dr. Becker’s NRC experience includes membership on the Committee on Exploring Organic Environments in the Solar System. YVONNE C. BRILL is an independent consultant whose primary focus is aerospace technology and policy issues. Her specific research interests include liquid- and solid-propellant rocket motors, launch vehicles for space applications, and spacecraft (on-board) propulsion systems. She began her career with Douglas Aircraft as a rocket propellant chemist on a project at Douglas to design and launch an unmanned, Earth-orbiting satellite. Later at RCA Astro-Electronics, she developed the concept for a new rocket engine—an electrothermal hydrazine thruster. Ms. Brill is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Society of Women Engineers. She has served on numerous NRC and NAE committees, including the Committee to Evaluate the International Science and Technology Center and the Com- mittee on International Organizations and Programs. 67

68 ASSESSMENT OF THE NASA ASTROBIOLOGY INSTITUTE JACK D. FARMER is a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at Arizona State University. His research covers microbial biosedimentology and paleontology, early biosphere evolution, and astrobiology, specifically focused on understanding the factors that control biosignature preservation and how that knowledge can be translated into a strategy for exploration of Mars. Dr. Farmer previously worked as a research scientist in the Exobiology branch of NASA’s Ames Research Center. He was a member of NASA’s 2003 Landing Site Steering Committee and was involved with landing site selection for the Mars Pathfinder. Dr. Farmer was also a member of the science definition teams for the Mars 2001 and 2005 missions, and he has participated in the recent revamping of the Mars Program architecture as chair of the Life Subgroup for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group. He is a former member of the NRC Space Studies Board and of NASA’s Space Sciences Advisory Committee. MONIKA E. KRESS is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at San Jose State University (SJSU). Dr. Kress joined SJSU in 2004 after serving as a research associate with the Center for Astrobiology and Early Evolution at the University of Washington (UW). Prior to her position at UW, she was an NRC postdoc- toral research associate at NASA Ames Research Center. Her research interests include life in hyperarid planetary environments, early solar system evolution, the formation of habitable planets, and meteorites. DAVID W. LATHAM is a senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His current research interests focus on the study of extrasolar planets, especially transiting planets. Dr. Latham’s work also includes the construction of large telescopes and observing facilities, the development of astronomical instruments and detectors for large telescopes, and the development of computer hardware and software systems for astronomy applications. He is co-chair of the joint NASA/ESA Transiting Planet Archive Working Group. Dr. Latham is a co-investigator on the Kepler Mission and also a co-investigator on one of the key projects for the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM). He is a member of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative. ANTONIO LAZCANO is a biology researcher and professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City. He is considered to be among the 10 most distinguished Latin American scientists; he has studied the origins and early evolution of life for more than 30 years. His research focuses on the study of the deepest branches of the tree of life, with particular interest in the last common ancestor of extant life forms and the origins and development of metabolic pathways. Dr. Lazcano has been professor-in-residence or visiting scientist in France, Spain, Cuba, Switzerland, Russia, and the United States. He has written several books in Spanish, includ- ing the best-seller The Origin of Life (1984). Additionally, he has served on many advisory, editorial, and review boards, and he has organized several scientific meetings in Mexico, the United States, and Europe. CINDY L. VAN DOVER is the director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory. Prior to her appointment at Duke, Dr. Van Dover was associate professor of marine biology at the College of William & Mary. She is a deep- sea biologist who began work in this field in 1982 as a member of the first biological expedition to hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise. Her basic research focuses on the study of biodiversity and biogeography of fauna living in the extreme physical and chemical environments associated with deep-sea vents. In 1989, she described a novel photoreceptor in a vent invertebrate, which in turn led to discovery and characterization of a geothermal source of light at vents and investigations of its biological significance. Also, in 1989 she joined the team that operates the deep-diving submersible ALVIN. Her work with ALVIN has taken her to most of the known vent fields in the Atlantic and Pacific, as well as to deep-water seamounts, seeps, and other significant seafloor features. Dr. Van Dover has published more than 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has written several books.

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Astrobiology is a scientific discipline devoted to the study of life in the universe - its origin, evolution, distribution, and future. In 1997, NASA established an Astrobiology program (the NASA Astrobiology Institute - NAI) as a result of a series of new results from solar system exploration and astronomical research in the mid-1990s together with advances in the biological sciences. To help evaluate the NAI, NASA asked the NRC to review progress made by the Institute in developing the field of astrobiology. This book presents an evaluation of NAI's success in meeting its goals for fostering interdisciplinary research, training future astrobiology researchers, providing scientific and technical leadership, exploring new research approaches with information technology, and supporting outreach to K-12 education programs.

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