Member of the Astrochemistry Laboratory of the Solar Systems Exploration Division and a Senior Goddard Fellow at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Worked on the development of X-ray and Gamma-Ray remote sensing spectrometers for planetary exploration mission. Principal Investigator, Co-Investigator, Team member or guest investigator on the U.S. Apollo, Viking, WIND, SMM, and Mars Observer programs and the Russian, Luna, Mars, Phobos, and Mar '96 program. Principal Investigator for the US/Russian Antarctic Gamma Ray Balloon Flight Program. Team Leader for the X-Ray/Gamma-Ray Remote Sensing Spectrometers for NEAR. Presently a co-investigator on the '01 Mars Odyssey Gamma Ray Spectrometer, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Lunar Explorer Neutron Detector, and the X-Ray/Gamma-Ray Spectrometer for MESSENGER. Principal investigator for the NASA/NIJ Program in Space Age Teleforensics.
Dr. Trombka began his career in nuclear sciences as a research scientist at the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies Medical Division and at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories where he work in the development of techniques in gamma-ray spectroscopy. He later was an instructor in nuclear measurement techniques at the University of Michigan, Department of Nuclear Sciences. He began his career in space sciences at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, working on the Ranger gamma-ray spectrometer and studying the applications of x-ray, gamma-ray and neutron/gamma-ray to planetary remote and in-situ geochemical analysis systems. Dr. Trombka was assigned to NASA Headquarters to direct the physics program for the Gemini, Mercury and APOLLO programs.
After two years at NASA Headquarters, he joined the Theoretical Physics Branch of the Goddard Space Flight Center. Since his joining the Goddard Space Flight Center he has served on number of projects including: Mars Observer, Gamma Ray, Remote Sensing Spectrometer Facility; Co-Investigator - Russian Mars '96 Mission; Member of Flight Investigation Team Mars Observer Remote Sensing Gamma-Ray, Spectrometer, Member of Instrument Design Science, Team X-Ray/Gamma-Ray Remote Sensing, Gamma-Ray Spectrometer; Member of NASA Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby Science Working Group; Member of Mercury Orbiter Project Working Group; Member of the National Academy of Sciences Primitive Body Working Group (European and USA) on Cooperative Planetary Exploration Programs; Co-Investigator Gamma-Ray Spectrometer WIND Mission; Guest Investigator Gamma-Ray Spectrometer Solar Maximum Mission; Guest Investigator X-Ray Fluorescence Experiment Viking Mission; Member Terrestrial Bodies Science Working Group; Principal Investigator United States/Russian Program for the Development of Remote Sensing X-Ray and Gamma-Ray Sensing Techniques; Member Editorial Advisory Board, Nuclear Technology; Co-Investigator NATO Project on Non-Destructive Testing of Historic Monuments (Venice).
Dr. Trombka has received many awards including the John Lindsay Most Significant Scientific Achievement Award, the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, and the Goddard Space Flight Center Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award; a number of NASA Group Achievement awards for Apollo, NEAR and Mars Odyssey Missions; and Outstanding Graduate, Nuclear Department, University of Michigan, 1979. The asteroid 1981 ET26 has been renamed (4990) Trombka for his work in developing remote x-ray and gamma-ray sensing spectroscopy for the geochemical exploration of planetary bodies. He has also been author or co-author for over 150 papers in the field. He has two patents for instruments developed at Goddard.