Sciences and Exploration Directorate



MICHAEL JOSEPH WAY's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 212.678.5665
Org Code: 611
Mail Code 611
New York, NY 10025

Brief Bio

Educated with a Ph.D. in Physics in 1998. Worked as a part-time computer consultant during Ph.D. studies. After Ph.D. worked at Princeton University for 3 years before joining NASA/Ames Research Center. In 2012 joined the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Research Interests

Multi-Scale Structure of the Universe

Astrophysics: Cosmology

Worked for several years on novel algorithms for estimating the multi-scale stucture of the physical universe using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. This was compared with results derived from N-Body simulations such as a the Millennium Simulation.These types of comparisons tell one how well our present knowledge of how structures grow via gravitation fit the natural world.

General Circulation Modeling as applied to Planetary Atmospheres

Solar System: Astrobiology

Using the GISS General Circulation Model for modern day Earth simulations, in recent years we have expanded it's capabilities to model paleo Earth, modern and paleo Mars, and paleo Venus. We currently have funding to expand the model to the atmosphere of Titan.

Current Projects

Planetary Atmospheric Modeling


Currently using funding from NASA's PATM program to expand the capabilities of the GISS General Circulation Model to the atmosphere of present day Titan.


Physical Scientist

NASA - Goddard Institute for Space Studies New York, NY 10025

January 2012 - Present

Research Scientist currently working on both the Multi-Scale Structure of the Universe and Planetary Atmospheric Modeling. 30-40% of time is also spent as the Computer Security Official for GISS.
Many duties are the same as those performed at NASA/Ames from 2000-2011.


NASA - Ames Research Center Space Science Division M.S. 245-6 Moffett Field, CA, 94035

October 2000 - December 2011

PI and Co-I on several NASA research grants and directed funding projects. Two recent software projects that have come about from this funding are:

Lead editor on a book titled “Advances in Machine Learning and Data Mining for Astronomy” published in January 2012,

Act as an interface between Astronomers and Computer Scientists to foster collaborations and joint funding projects.

Continued research and publication in Astrophysical topics.

2004-2007: Computer Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Science and Astrobiology Mission Directorate (SMD) at NASA/Ames Research Center (ARC). This involves understanding the computer security requirements of NASA, the science requirements of my directorate, and the systems and network architecture of Ames Research Center. 2000-2004 Acted as assistant to the former CSO and CIO for SMD at Ames.

Support scientific computing in the Astrophysics and Planetary Science Branches at ARC. This included building/maintaining a small beowulf cluster from my own research funds which was also used by other groups. Designed, built and maintained a 5TB database server of Astronomical data for interdisciplinary research.

End user consultations provided on occasion for a variety of products: Matlab, C, Fortran, shell, tex, perl, html, PGPlot, IRAF, IDL, Mathematica, etc.

Senior Technical Staff

Princeton University - Princeton, NJ

July 1997 - July 2000

Published several papers related to Ph.D. thesis regarding AGN in galaxy clusters.

Advisor to several undergraduate and graduate projects with department

Supported a 64 cpu SGI Origin 2000 supercomputer for the department.

Administered a network of 70+ desktop/server computers running various operating systems including: SUN (running SunOS and Solaris), SGI (Origin 2000, Origin 200, Indy: Irix 5.3-6.5), Intel (running Linux, NetBSD, WinNT and Win 95), and Apple.

Designed, built and ran a 17 node beowulf cluster in 1997.

End user support provided: Programming in C/C++, Fortran, cshell, awk, perl, html. Supported graphics, mathematical and image processing utilities(e.g. PGPlot, IRAF, IDL, AIPS, Mathematica, Matlab, etc).

Computer Consultant

Various Employers including Technology Applications Incorporated, The University of Missouri, The American Museum of Natural History, and others. - Various locations, but mostly in St. Louis, Missouri, and New York City.

January 1994 - July 2000

Offered network integration services to a variety of clients, but specifically included:

Hardware and software design, configuration and system administration of Internet Service Provider (ISP) system at Telecom New Zealand.

Assisted in construction of ISP specific software installation and configuration manual.

Configuration/installation of RAID disk arrays, firewall, radius, httpd, HA Failover, Xyplex Terminal Server, and other ISP related tools.

Worked in a team to help design and integrate the aforementioned system into the current Telecom New Zealand infrastructure.

Integrated a variety of networks consisting of SUN, SGI, RS6000, Apollo, HP-UX, VAX/VMS, Linux, Win 95/98, and Apple for print and file sharing.

Installed new computer hardware and software as needed and some end user support was provided.

Programming Languages/utilities used included: Unigraphics, C/C++, Fortran, shell, PGPlot, IRAF, IDL, AIPS.

Teaching Experience

2007-2010: Adjunct Professor - Department of Physics, City University of New York, Hunter and Queens Colleges, New York, NY, USA


Ph.D. 1998 Physics, University of Missouri - St.Louis
M.S. 1991 Physics, University of Missouri - St.Louis
B.S. 1989 Physics, University of Missouri - Columbia

Professional Societies

American Astronomical Society

1990 - Present

American Association for the Advancement of Science

2010 - Present

American Geophysical Union

2014 - Present

Professional Service

- Conference on Intelligent Data Understanding 2012/10,
Space Science Chair

- "Origins of the Expanding Universe: 1912-1932", 2012/09, Lowell Observatory, Principal Conference Organizer

- "An Odyssey in the Galaxy Archipelago", 2012/06,
Science Organizing Committee member

- “The New York Workshop on Computer, Earth and Space Sciences 2011”, 2011/03, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies,

- “The New York Workshop on Computer, Earth and Space Sciences”, 2009/03, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies,

- “ROSES Code S & TWorkshop 2006”, 2006/03, NASA Ames Research Center, Space Sciences Auditorium,

- “NASA Applied Information Systems Research Program PI Meeting”, 2005/04, NASA Ames Research Center,

- “ROSES Code S & TWorkshop 2005”, 2005/02, NASA Ames Research Center, Space Sciences Auditorium,

- “NASA Applied Information Systems Research Program PI Meeting”, 2003/10, University of Pittsburgh,

- “NASA Applied Information Systems Research Program PI Meeting”, 2002/10, NASA Ames Research Center,

- “Space Science Data Understanding Workshop”, 2002/10, NASA Ames Research Center, Space Sciences Auditorium,

Other Professional Information

Special Experience

2003 Visiting Scientist, Theoretical Astrophysics Center, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen Denmark

Spent 6 month sabbatical working with Andre Doroshkevich on using Minimal Spanning Trees on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and with Pavel Naselsky on WMAP Cosmic Microwave Background data.



2024. "Inferring chemical disequilibrium biosignatures for Proterozoic Earth-like exoplanets." Nature Astronomy 8 (1): 101-110 [10.1038/s41550-023-02145-z] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Deriving new mixing ratios for Venus atmospheric gases using data from the Pioneer Venus Large Probe Neutral Mass Spectrometer." MethodsX 11 102305 [10.1016/j.mex.2023.102305] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Exploring Climate with Obliquity in a Variable-eccentricity Earth-like World." The Astronomical Journal 166 (6): 227 [10.3847/1538-3881/ad0373] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Venus Evolution Through Time: Key Science Questions, Selected Mission Concepts and Future Investigations." Space Science Reviews 219 (7): 56 [10.1007/s11214-023-00992-w] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Magma Ocean, Water, and the Early Atmosphere of Venus." Space Science Reviews 219 (7): 51 [10.1007/s11214-023-00995-7] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "The Habitability of Venus." Space Science Reviews 219 (2): 17 [10.1007/s11214-023-00960-4] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Synergies Between Venus & Exoplanetary Observations." Space Science Reviews 219 (1): 13 [10.1007/s11214-023-00953-3] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Venus, the Planet: Introduction to the Evolution of Earth’s Sister Planet." Space Science Reviews 219 (1): 10 [10.1007/s11214-023-00956-0] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "The TRAPPIST-1 Habitable Atmosphere Intercomparison (THAI). I. Dry Cases—The Fellowship of the GCMs." The Planetary Science Journal 3 (9): 211 [10.3847/psj/ac6cf0] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "The TRAPPIST-1 Habitable Atmosphere Intercomparison (THAI). III. Simulated Observables—the Return of the Spectrum." The Planetary Science Journal 3 (9): 213 [10.3847/psj/ac6cf1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Large-scale Volcanism and the Heat Death of Terrestrial Worlds." The Planetary Science Journal 3 (4): 92 [10.3847/psj/ac6033] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Circumpolar ocean stability on Mars 3 Gy ago." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119 (4): e2112930118 [10.1073/pnas.2112930118] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Effects of Spin–Orbit Resonances and Tidal Heating on the Inner Edge of the Habitable Zone." The Astrophysical Journal 921 (1): 25 [10.3847/1538-4357/ac135c] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Venus, an Astrobiology Target." Astrobiology 21 (10): 1163-1185 [10.1089/ast.2020.2268] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Early Habitability and Crustal Decarbonation of a Stagnant‐Lid Venus." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 126 (10): [10.1029/2021je006895] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "The Climates of Earth’s Next Supercontinent: Effects of Tectonics, Rotation Rate, and Insolation." Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 22 (8): [10.1029/2021gc009983] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "3D Simulations of the Early Martian Hydrological Cycle Mediated by a H 2 ‐CO 2 Greenhouse." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 126 (7): [10.1029/2021je006825] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "TRAPPIST Habitable Atmosphere Intercomparison (THAI) Workshop Report." The Planetary Science Journal 2 (3): 106 [10.3847/psj/abf4df] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Venus' Mass Spectra Show Signs of Disequilibria in the Middle Clouds." Geophysical Research Letters 48 (7): [10.1029/2020gl091327] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Tides on Other Earths: Implications for Exoplanet and Palaeo‐Tidal Simulations." Geophysical Research Letters 47 (12): [10.1029/2019gl085746] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Venusian Habitable Climate Scenarios: Modeling Venus Through Time and Applications to Slowly Rotating Venus‐Like Exoplanets." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 125 (5): [10.1029/2019je006276] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "The Impact of Planetary Rotation Rate on the Reflectance and Thermal Emission Spectrum of Terrestrial Exoplanets around Sunlike Stars." The Astrophysical Journal 893 (2): 140 [10.3847/1538-4357/ab83ec] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "TRAPPIST-1 Habitable Atmosphere Intercomparison (THAI): motivations and protocol version 1.0." Geoscientific Model Development 13 (2): 707-716 [10.5194/gmd-13-707-2020] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Albedos, Equilibrium Temperatures, and Surface Temperatures of Habitable Planets." The Astrophysical Journal 884 (1): 75 [10.3847/1538-4357/ab3be8] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Venus as a Laboratory for Exoplanetary Science." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 124 (8): 2015-2028 [10.1029/2019je005939] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Impact of space weather on climate and habitability of terrestrial-type exoplanets." International Journal of Astrobiology 19 (2): 136-194 [10.1017/s1473550419000132] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Venus Topography and Boundary Conditions in 3D General Circulation Modeling." Planetary Cartography and GIS. Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography 325-335 [10.1007/978-3-319-62849-3_19] [Article in Book]

2019. "Habitable Climate Scenarios for Proxima Centauri b with a Dynamic Ocean." Astrobiology 19 (1): 99-125 [10.1089/ast.2017.1760] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Climates of Warm Earth-like Planets. I. 3D Model Simulations." The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 239 (2): 24 [10.3847/1538-4365/aae9e1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Venus: The Making of an Uninhabitable World (white paper submitted in response to the solicitation of feedback for the "Astrobiology Science Strategy for the Search for Life in the Universe" by the National Academy of Sciences)." ArXiv e-prints [Full Text] [Report]

2017. "Resolving Orbital and Climate Keys of Earth and Extraterrestrial Environments with Dynamics (ROCKE-3D) 1.0: A General Circulation Model for Simulating the Climates of Rocky Planets." The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 231 (1): 12 [10.3847/1538-4365/aa7a06] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Structure in the 3D Galaxy Distribution. III. Fourier Transforming the Universe: Phase and Power Spectra." The Astrophysical Journal 839 40 [10.3847/1538-4357/aa692d] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Was Venus the first habitable world of our solar system?." Geophysical Research Letters 43 (16): 8376-8383 [10.1002/2016gl069790] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Long term evolution of planetary systems with a terrestrial planet and a giant planet." Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 461 (2): 1512-1528 [10.1093/mnras/stw1378] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Plasma observations during the Mars atmospheric “plume” event of March-April 2012." Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics 121 (4): 3139-3154 [10.1002/2015ja022023] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Local starburst galaxies and their descendants." A&A 587 A72 [10.1051/0004-6361/201525692] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Exploring the Inner Edge of the Habitable Zone with Fully Coupled Oceans." ArXiv e-prints [Report]

2015. "Structure in the 3D galaxy distribution. II. Voids and watersheds of local maxima and minima." Astrophys. J. 799 95 [doi:10.1088/0004-637X/799/1/95] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Historical notes on the expanding universe." Phys. Today 67 (7): 8 [doi:10.1063/PT.3.2431] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Dismantling Hubble's legacy?." Origins of the Expanding Universe: 1912-1932 CS-471 97-134 [Article in Book]

2012. "Commentary: Learning About the Sky Through Simulations." Statistical Challenges in Modern Astronomy V (Lect Notes Stats 209) 361-366 [10.1007/978-1-4614-3520-4_34] [Article in Book]

2012. "Can Self-Organizing Maps Accurately Predict Photometric Redshifts?." Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 124 (913): 274-279 [10.1086/664796] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Galaxy Zoo morphology and photometric redshifts in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey." Astrophys J Lett 734 (1): L9 [10.1088/2041-8205/734/1/L9] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Structure In the Three-Dimensional Galaxy Distribution. I. Methods and Example Results." Astrophys J 727 (1): 48 [10.1088/0004-637X/727/1/48] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Viewpoints: A High-Performance High-Dimensional Exploratory Data Analysis Tool." Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 122 (898): 1518-1525 [10.1086/657902] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "New Approaches to Photometric Redshift Prediction Via Gaussian Process Regression in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey." Astrophys J 706 (1): 623-636 [10.1088/0004-637X/706/1/623] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "High relative velocity central dumbbells in poor clusters." Astronomische Nachrichten 330 (9-10): 924-927 [10.1002/asna.200911264] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "Stable and efficient Gaussian process calculations." J Mach Learn Res 10 857-882. [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "Novel Methods for Predicting Photometric Redshifts from Broadband Photometry Using Virtual Sensors." The Astrophysical Journal 647 (1): 102-115 [10.1086/505293] [Journal Article/Letter]

2005. "Redshifts in the Southern Abell Redshift Survey Clusters. I. The Data." The Astrophysical Journal 130 (5): 2012-2018 [10.1086/462418] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "Large scale structure in the SDSS galaxy survey." Astronomy and Astrophysics 418 (1): 7-23 [10.1051/0004-6361:20031780] [Journal Article/Letter]

2003. "Non-Gaussianity of the Derived Maps from the First-Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe Data." ApJL 590 (2): L65-L68 [10.1086/376822] [Journal Article/Letter]

2002. "Velocity Dispersions and Cluster Properties in the Southern Abell Redshift Survey Clusters. II." The Astronomical Journal 124 (4): 1934-1942 [10.1086/342854] [Journal Article/Letter]

2000. "Deconstructing Abell 3266: A Major Merger in a Quiet Cluster." ApJ 532 (1): 206-213 [10.1086/308539] [Journal Article/Letter]


2013. "Origins of the Expanding Universe: 1912-1932." ASP Conf Series 471 [Book]

2012. "Advances in Machine Learning and Data Mining for Astronomy." [Book]

Talks, Presentations and Posters


Dismantling Hubble's Legacy?

February 2014

American Astronomical Society Historical Astronomy Division Invited Speaker:

Big Mirrors, Bayesian Evangelists and the Public


Uppsala University Astronomy Department Colloquium:

“Multi-Scale Structure in 3-D Surveys and Simulations of the Universe” (Conference: An Odyssey in the Galaxy Archipelago, Stockholm Sweden)

July 2012


The New Astrobiology Group at GISS

May 2014

GISS lunch seminar