Committee and Staff Biographical Information
IRWIN I. SHAPIRO, Chair, is the former director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (1983-2004), where one of his institutional responsibilities was overseeing the Minor Planet Center. He, his students, and his colleagues made the first detections of asteroids and comets ever made by radar. He has also recently developed a large-screen script focusing on NEOs, which includes issues surrounding impact prevention. Dr. Shapiro was awarded nine medals and prizes for his research, and in 1997, he became the first Timken University Professor at Harvard University. His research involves applications of radio and radar techniques in astrophysics, geophysics, planetary physics, and tests of gravitational theories. Dr. Shapiro is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His most recent NRC experience was serving on the Panel on Astronomy Education and Policy of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee.
MICHAEL A’HEARN, Vice Chair, is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the principal investigator (PI) for the Deep Impact mission in NASA’s Discovery Program and for the Small Bodies Node of NASA’s Planetary Data System. His research interests include comets and asteroids, and his theoretical work focuses on the physical and chemical properties of comets. He has also worked on the development of techniques for determining sizes of cometary nuclei that combine optical and infrared measurements. Dr. A’Hearn is a member of the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences. His prior NRC service includes the Panel on Primitive Bodies of the Committee on a New Science Strategy for Solar System Exploration.
FAITH VILAS, Vice Chair, is the director of the MMT Observatory at Mt. Hopkins, Arizona. She is also chair of the newly-formed Small Bodies Assessment Group. She has previously worked as chief of the planetary astronomy group in NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate and as a research scientist at JSC. From 1987 to 1988, she served as a field team participant for the Antarctic Meteorite Expedition. She was principal investigator for the Debris Collision Warning Sensors Space Transportation System flight experiment to observe orbital debris in the visible and thermal infrared spectral regions (1987-1992). Dr. Vilas was also a member of the Space Surveillance PI Team for the Mid-Course Space Experiment satellite in charge of conducting experiments to observe man-made orbital debris with visible and thermal infrared sensors. Much of her experience lies in using ground- and space-based telescopes. She was part of a University of Arizona team that discovered Neptune’s rings five years before confirmation from the 1989 Voyager mission. She has no prior NRC experience.
ANDREW CHENG is chief scientist of the space department at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He is responsible for the overall integrity of science returns from the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous mission and is the lead for science data analysis and archiving, science planning, and conflict resolution among NEAR science requirements. He was an interdisciplinary scientist for the Galileo mission to Jupiter, investigating magnetospheric physics at Jupiter, and is a co-investigator on the Magnetospheric Imaging team on the Cassini mission to Saturn and Titan. Dr. Cheng was named Maryland Academy of Sciences Outstanding Young Scientist in 1985 and has received five NASA Group
Achievement awards since then. He has authored more than 120 scientific articles. He served on the NRC Task Group on the Forward Contamination of Europa and the Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration.
FRANK CULBERTSON, JR., is a former astronaut and a retired captain from the U.S. Navy. He is senior vice president and deputy general manager of the Advanced Program Group at Orbital Sciences Corporation where he is responsible for human spaceflight programs, including commercial transportation services to the International Space Station (ISS). Prior to joining Orbital, Mr. Culbertson was a senior vice president at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), initially as program manager of the Safety, Reliability and Quality Assurance contract at NASA, before progressing to business unit general management and director of SAIC’s Global Climate Change Programs. Mr. Culbertson was a NASA astronaut for 18 years in a variety of critical spaceflight and management roles for NASA’s space shuttle and space station programs, including three launches aboard the space shuttle and command of the ISS. In total, he has logged more than 144 days in space and over five hours of extra-vehicular activity (space walk) experience. Mr. Culbertson also served as program manager of the Shuttle-Mir Program for three years and deputy program manager for operations for the ISS program.
DAVID JEWITT is a professor in the department of physics and astronomy , and an astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. He has focused his research on studying the vast population of small icy bodies in the Kuiper Belt at and beyond the orbits of Neptune and Pluto. He has also studied comets and other primitive bodies of the solar system, many of which are evolved Kuiper Belt objects. Dr. Jewitt is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has previously served on several NRC committees, including the Committee on a New Science Strategy for Solar System Exploration and the Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee.
STEPHEN MACKWELL is director of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Mackwell served as director of the Bayerisches Geoinstitut at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. Under his guidance, the Geoinstitut strengthened its position as one of the preeminent experimental geosciences facilities in the world, and broadened its research programs to more fully address deep-Earth issues. Dr. Mackwell served as program director for geophysics, Division of Earth Sciences, National Science Foundation (1993-1994), expert reviewer for the Department of Energy’s Geosciences Research Program (1993), member of the review panel for NASA’s Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program (1994-1996 and 2002-present), group chief of the review panel for NASA’s Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program (1996-1998), and expert consultant for the Division of Earth Sciences, National Science Foundation (1995). 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 served on the NRC Committee on New Opportunities in Solar System Exploration.
H. JAY MELOSH is professor of theoretical geophysics and planetary surfaces at Purdue University. Some of Dr. Melosh’s previous positions include professor at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, associate professor of planetary science at the California Institute of Technology and associate professor of geophysics at State University of New York at Stony Brook. He has made many important contributions to 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 president and a member of the board of directors of Universal Space Network. From 1981 to 1983, he served as executive vice president of Computer Technology Associates, Inc., Space Systems Division, where he managed all ground test and operations systems-engineering projects. Those projects included the Hubble Space Telescope, the Solar Maximum repair mission, and space tracking and data system architecture projects. In 1983, he joined NASA Goddard where he was responsible for space systems development and operations, and for execution of the scientific research program for the 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 International Space Station 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.
DWAYNE A. DAY, Study Director, a program officer for the Space Studies Board (SSB), has a Ph.D. in political science from the George Washington University and has previously served as an investigator for the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. He was on the staff of the Congressional Budget Office and also worked for the Space Policy Institute at the George Washington University. He has held Guggenheim and Verville fellowships and is an associate editor of the German spaceflight magazine Raumfahrt Concrete, in addition to writing for such publications as Novosti Kosmonavtiki (Russia), Spaceflight, and Space Chronicle (United Kingdom). He has served as study director for several NRC reports, including Space Radiation Hazards and the Vision for Space Exploration (2006), Grading NASA’s Solar System Exploration Program: A Midterm Review (2008), and Opening New Frontiers in Space: Choices for the Next New Frontiers Announcement of Opportunity (2008).
PAUL JACKSON, Study Director, is an associate program officer for the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB). He joined the NRC in 2006 and was previously the media relations contact for the Office of News and Public Information. He is the study director for a number of ASEB’s projects, including proposal reviews for the state of Ohio and the Committee to Assess NASA’s National Aviation Operations Monitoring Service (NAOMS) Project. Mr. Jackson earned a B.A. in philosophy from Michigan State University in 2002 and an M.P.A in policy analysis, economic development, and comparative international affairs from Indiana University in 2006.
DAVID H. SMITH, Study Director, joined the staff of the SSB in 1991. He is the senior staff officer and study director for a variety of NRC activities, including the solar system exploration decadal survey. He also organizes the SSB’s summer intern program and supervises most, if not all, of the interns. He received a B.Sc. in mathematical physics from the University of Liverpool in 1976 and a D.Phil. in theoretical astrophysics from Sussex University in 1981. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Queen Mary College, University (1980-1982) he held the position of associate editor and, later, technical editor of Sky and Telescope. Immediately prior to joining the staff of the Space Studies Board, Dr. Smith was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1990-1991).
VICTORIA SWISHER joined the SSB in 2006 as a research associate. She recently received a B.A. in astronomy from Swarthmore College. She presented the results of her research at the 2005 and 2006 AAS meetings and at various Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium undergraduate research
conferences. Her most recent research focused on laboratory astrophysics and involved studying the x-rays of plasma, culminating in a senior thesis entitled “Modeling UV and X-ray Spectra from the Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment.”
ANDREA M. REBHOLZ joined the ASEB as a program associate in January 2009. She began her career at the National Academies in October 2005 as a senior program assistant for the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation. Prior to the Academies, she worked in the communications department of a D.C.-based think tank. Ms. Rebholz graduated from George Mason University’s New Century College in 2003 with a B.A. in integrative studies–event management and has more than 7 years of experience in event planning.
LEWIS GROSWALD is a research assistant and joined the SSB as the Autumn 2008 Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern. Mr. Groswald is a first-year graduate student pursuing his masters’ degree in international science and technology policy at the George Washington University (GW). A recent graduate of GW, he studied international affairs with a double concentration in conflict and security and Europe and Eurasia as an undergraduate. Following his work with the National Space Society during his senior year at GW, Mr. Groswald decided to pursue a career in space policy, educating the public on space issues, and formulating policy.
RODNEY N. HOWARD joined the SSB as a senior project assistant in 2002. Before he joined SSB, most of his vocational life was spent in the health profession—as a pharmacy technologist at Doctor’s Hospital in Lanham, Maryland, and as an interim center administrator at the Concentra Medical Center in Jessup, Maryland. During that time, he participated in a number of Quality Circle Initiatives that were designed to improve relations between management and staff. Mr. Howard obtained his B.A. in communications from the University of Baltimore County in 1983. He plans to begin coursework next year for his master’s degree in business administration.