Sciences and Exploration Directorate (600) Local News Archive

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Dr. Colleen Hartman will assume the leadership of the SED on Mar 31

Colleen Harman profile photo Dr. Colleen Hartman will assume the leadership of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate as its director, on March 31, 2015.

Colleen has served as SED's acting director since February 2014, as well as Goddard’s deputy director for science, operations and performance since July 2012. She has a long and distinguished career with NASA, NOAA, the White House and in academia, having held a variety of leadership posts, including the acting associate administrator, deputy associate administrator, planetary division director in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, and deputy associate administrator at NOAA.

Through her impressive career, Colleen has served as NASA program manager for dozens of missions, built and launched scientific balloon payloads, and worked on robotic vision. She has been instrumental in developing innovative approaches to powering space probes, including in-space propulsion and nuclear power. By gaining White House and congressional approval, she spearheaded the creation of a whole new line of planetary missions called New Frontiers. We are privileged that Colleen brings with her this extensive scientific expertise and breadth of experience as she takes on the vital mission role of director, Sciences and Exploration Directorate.

Science Jamboree a big success

science jamboree photos thumbnailOn July 17, Code 600’s Science Jamboree filled the Building 28 atrium with displays and demonstrations from all science divisions. The Scientific Visualization Studio showed 3D movies in the screening room and there were spectacular Hyperwall presentations. Tours were available in the Flight Dynamics Facility’s Mission Operations Room and the NASA Center for Climate Simulation. Next year... don't miss it!

NASA Goddard scientists mentioned in World's Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014

Nine Goddard researchers are listed in the recently released report: The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2014. Publications by these and other Goddard researchers can be found in the Goddard Authors & Publications collection.

Bruce Woodgate Passes

Dr. Bruce Woodgate passed away April 28, 2014 after suffering several strokes. Bruce has a remarkable career, spanning nearly 40 years as a civil servant at Goddard. Bruce was also a mentor to legions of students and young scientists. He retired recently and was still working on UV detectors as an Emeritus scientist. He had very broad interests, in subjects ranging from earth science to stellar atmospheres to exoplanets to large scale structure in the universe. Bruce was probably best known as the PI for the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) for the Hubble Space Telescope. In this capacity he led the design and development of the instrument, including preparation of flight-worthy large-format CCDs and Multi Anode Multi Array (MAMA) detectors that dramatically advanced the state of the art over the previous HST spectrographs.

SED Director leaving NASA

A hearty congratulations to Nick White who announced that he will be retiring from NASA to become the Senior Vice President of USRA.

Breakthrough of the Year

A Fermi science result from this past year was selected as a runner-up for "Breakthrough of the Year" by Science Magazine... congratulations to the Fermi team!

Vigdor Teplitz honored with an "individual certificate of appreciation"

The Assistant Secretary of State for Ocean, Environment and Scientific Affairs presented Vigdor Teplitz (663 emeritus) with an "individual certificate of appreciation" for "exceptional, sustained performance in furthering the international cooperation goals outlined in the President's June, 2010 National Space Policy." The award recognized recognized efforts to help NASA get South Africa to join in realizing the President's Asteroid Initiative, in general, and to obtain access to a specific South African radar, in particular.

Dr. Jim Tucker Awarded Vega Medal

Congratulations to Dr. Jim Tucker of the Earth Sciences Division. He is the recipient of the 2014 Vega Medal, an award given every three years by the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography. The society created the Vega Medal in 1881 on the occasion of Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld's return to Stockholm, after he had discovered the North East Passage. Since then, the Vega Medal has been awarded to a physical geographer roughly every three years. This award is given by the King of Sweden on 24 April, the anniversary of Nordenskiöld's return to Stockholm.

Dieter Bilitza awarded International Kristian Birkeland medal

Dieter Bilitza was awarded the 2013 International Kristian Birkeland medal for outstanding scientific results related to Space Weather and Space Climate. The Birkeland medal is awarded by the Norwegian academy of science in conjunction with the European Space Weather Week (ESSW). The medal will be presented during this year's ESSW this week in Antwerp, Belgium.

MAVEN Liveshot Campaign

Jim Garvin, Pam Conrad and Michelle Thaller were featured on dozens of television stations during a Liveshot campaign for the MAVEN launch. The viewership of the stations included several million people.

GSFC Intern is semi-finalist in Siemens Competition

James Sullivan, a 2013 summer intern from the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Alexandria, VA), has been selected as a Semifinalist in the 2013 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Jamie¹s research was on "Using Multi-Spacecraft Observations to Determine AKR Emission Cone Structure." His mentors were Shing Fung (673) and Leonard Garcia (Wyle/605/673).

Bhartia wins 2014 AMS Remote Sensing Prize

Congratulations to Dr. P.K. Bhartia for being recognized with the prestigious 2014 American Meteorological Society (AMS) Remote Sensing Prize. The AMS gives this award biannually to recognize individuals for advances in the science and technology of remote sensing, and its application to knowledge of the earth oceans, and atmosphere, and/or to the benefit of society.

Michelle Thaller receives Women in Aerospace Award

Congratulations to Dr Michelle Thaller (SED Assistant Director for Science Communication and Higher Education) who received the 2013 Women in Aerospace (WIA) Aerospace Awareness Award. The citation reads for "bringing NASA Science to life in the public eye by creating a breakthrough outreach program using TV, conferences and social media to get the scientists’ message out to the world."

Anne Kinney wins a Presidential Rank Award

Anne Kinney received a 2012 Presidential Rank Award (Meritorious Executive). These awards are given to high-performing senior career employees for "sustained extraordinary accomplishment." Executives from across Government are nominated by their agency heads, evaluated by citizen panels, and designated by the President. Winners of these awards are deemed to be strong leaders, professionals, or scientists who achieve results and consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry, and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service.

Passing of Hasso Niemann

photo of Hasso NiemannHasso Niemann died peacefully in his sleep early Thursday morning after a brief battle with cancer. Hasso leaves a huge legacy at Goddard and in the planetary and atmospheric sciences community with a career devoted to the development of mass spectrometer technology and using these capabilities to measure the composition of planetary atmospheres.

Jack Tueller Passes

Dr Jack Tueller from the Astroparticle Physics Lab (661) in the Astrophysics Division passed away February 20, 2012 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Jack came to Goddard in 1979 after a PhD with advisor Martin Israel at Washington University, St. Louis. He successfully flew his own cosmic ray thesis balloon instrument as a graduate student. At Goddard he pursued gamma-ray astronomy and became a world-renowned experimental astrophysicist. He worked with Bonnard Teegarden on the LEGS and GRIS balloon spectrometers and became the Principal Investigator for GRIS in 1993. GRIS was a highly successful payload with 8 successful flights and scientific discoveries of gamma-ray line emission from SN 1987A and the distribution of positron annihilation line emission from the galactic center region. For these findings, he shared in the Lindsay award in 1991. Jack was recently leading the InFOCuS balloon instrument for hard X-ray focusing science. He was the Project Scientist for NASA's balloon program. He was also highly active in the analysis of hard X-ray survey data from the BAT instrument on Swift. Jack was an ebullient and happy character who was the life of whatever activity he was involved with. Jack will be greatly missed by us all.

NASA Science Pioneer: Bertram Donn (1919 - 2012)

Dr. Bertram "Bert" Donn, the first head of NASA Goddard's astrochemistry group, passed away on Friday December 28, 2012 at age 93. Bert helped put Goddard science on the map in the early days, both within and beyond NASA. He also was influential in starting two lab efforts at Goddard and in hiring some of our better-known scientists.
Reggie Hudson

Mars Science Laboratory

The Mars Science Laboratory will be landing on Mars early Monday morning EDT. Some useful resources to help you get ready for this exciting event are available on NASA's main MSL website. Some highlights include: Goddard scientists developed the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite onboard the Curiosity rover that will work together to investigate the chemistry of the Martian surface and atmosphere within Gale Crater. SAM's measurements will help scientists better understand environmental conditions over time and assess whether Mars could support and preserve evidence of microbial life, either now or at some time in its past. Though SAM's instruments would fill a laboratory here on Earth, they have been miniaturized to roughly the size of a microwave oven in order to fit inside the Curiosity rover. Paul Mahaffy is the SAM Principal Investigator.

Subscribe to the RSS feed of MSL landing updates to stay updated with the latest events.

Temilola Fatoyinbo-Agueh Receives Presidential Early Career Award

Temilola Fatoyinbo-Agueh, of the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory Division (Code 618), has been named a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Temilola, along with 95 other researchers, was named today by President Barack Obama for this award, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Recipients are selected annually for their continued service to their communities, through scientific leadership, outreach, and other public service works to educate the community about science. They are at the frontiers of their fields and show great promise for America’s future in science and engineering.

International Workshop on "Instrumentation for Planetary Missions" - Oct 10-12, 2012

International Workshop on "Instrumentation for Planetary Missions" - IPM 2012- will be coming to Goddard October 10-12, 2012. Plan on registering and attending. There will oral and poster presentations concerning instrumentation and technology for planetary missions.

Keynote Speakers are Dr. John Mather, Dr. Chris Weber, Dr. Amy Simon-Miller.

Abstracts/papers submission are due July 9, 2012. Registration is now open! More information is at:
Brook Lakew

SAVE THE DATE: Telerobotics Symposium May 2-3, 2012

artist's conception of telerobotics on Mars

Space Exploration via Telepresence: A New Paradigm for Human-Robotic Cooperation

Telerobotics has advanced enormously over the past several decades. Specific advances have revolutionized the way we carry out complex tasks in space, including those pertaining to science. Telepresence has allowed us to extend human cognition and dexterity into a variety of extreme and sometimes hostile environments, from the deepest depths of the oceans to dangerous mines, as well as high radiation sites.
Azita Valinia

Christa Peters-Lidard and Paul Newman Elected Fellows of the American Meteorological Society

Congratulations to Dr. Christa Peters-Lidard, Chief of the Hydrological Sciences Laboratory, and Dr. Paul Newman, Chief Scientist for Atmospheres, for being named 2012 Fellows of the American Meteorological Society. Election to grade of Fellow serves as a recognition of their outstanding contributions to the atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences, or their applications, during a substantial period of years. A maximum of only two-tenths of one percent of the AMS membership is approved through the Fellow nomination process.

Gavin Schmidt Receives AGU Climate Communications Award

In recognition of his exceptional work as a climate communicator, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) has selected Gavin Schmidt as the recipient of its inaugural Climate Communications Prize. Schmidt is a climate scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and co-founder of, a blog that covers areas of science related to climate-from present-day measurements to paleoclimate proxies, from natural climate variation to anthropogenic change. Schmidt has also worked with photographers on a popular science book, on museum exhibits, and on online courses and has often appeared on TV and radio and in print. The award, which was established by AGU earlier this year, recognizes excellence in climate communication as well as the promotion of scientific literacy, clarity of messaging, and efforts to foster respect and understanding for science-based values related to climate change.

Jim Tilton wins 2011 R&D 100 Award

We congratulate Dr. James C. Tilton (Code 606.3) on receiving R&D Magazine's 2011 R&D 100 Award at the 49th Annual R&D 100 Awards Ceremony in Orlando, FL on October 13. Dr. Tilton was recognized in conjunction with Bartron Medical Imaging, Inc. for the development of MED-SEG, a software tool that receives medical images and data from various imaging sources. The R&D 100 Awards, widely recognized as the "Oscars of Innovation," identifies and celebrates the top high technology products of the year, such as sophisticated testing equipment, innovative new materials, chemistry breakthroughs, biomedical products, consumer items and high-energy physics. The R&D 100 Awards spans industry, academia, and government-sponsored research.

Earth Day Video Contest Announces Winner

This Earth Day, we asked you to share your inspiring vision about NASA's exploration of Earth. We are in awe, and here are our winners.
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