Dr. Sushil K. Atreya
SUSHIL K. ATREYA is professor of climate and space science and engineering and director of the Planetary Science Laboratory at the University of Michigan. His current research interests include the origin and evolution of planetary and satellite atmospheres, particularly the giant planets, Titan, Mars, and Venus, astrobiology and exoplanets. Dr. Atreya is a co-investigator on NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, Juno-Jupiter Polar Orbiter and Cassini-Huygens missions, and ESA’s Mars Express mission. He was awarded the David Bates Medal for exceptional contributions to planetary and solar system sciences by the European Geosciences Union. He has received the NASA Award for exceptional scientific contributions to the Voyager missions to the giant planets, the NASA Group Achievement Award for outstanding scientific contributions with the Voyager Ultraviolet Spectrometer, and NASA group achievement awards for outstanding scientific contributions with the Galileo Probe mass spectrometer and outstanding contributions to the Galileo Project at Jupiter. Dr. Atreya is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, and a distinguished visiting scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is the author of Atmospheres and Ionospheres of the Outer Planets and their Satellites and editor of Origin and Evolution of Planetary and Satellite Atmospheres and two other books. He has served as a co-chair of the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG) and as a member of the Steering Committee of the Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG). He earned his B.S. and M.S. in physics from the University of Rajasthan, an M.S. in physics from Yale and his Ph.D. in atmospheric and space science from the University of Michigan. Dr. Atreya has served as a member on the National Academies’ Committee on the Assessment of Solar System Exploration, the Panel on Space Sciences, and The Standing Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science.
Dr. Ronald Breaker
RONALD BREAKER (NAS) is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Henry Ford II Professor of the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University. His graduate studies with Dr. Peter Gilham at Purdue University focused on the synthesis of RNA and the catalytic properties of nucleic acids. As a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Gerald Joyce at The Scripps Research Institute, Dr. Breaker pioneered a variety of in vitro evolution strategies to isolate novel RNA enzymes and was the first to discover catalytic DNAs or “deoxyribozymes” using this technology. Since establishing his laboratory at Yale, Dr. Breaker has continued to conduct research on the advanced functions of nucleic acids, including ribozyme reaction mechanisms, molecular switch technology, next-generation biosensors, and catalytic DNA engineering. Most recently, his laboratory has established the first proofs that metabolites are directly bound by messenger RNA elements called riboswitches. Dr. Breaker’s research findings have been published in more than 100 scientific papers, book chapters, and patent applications, and his research has been funded by grants from the NIH, NSF, DARPA, the Hereditary Disease Foundation, and from several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Hellman Family Trust. In recognition of his research accomplishments at Yale, Dr. Breaker received the Arthur Greer Memorial Prize, the Eli Lilly Award in Microbiology, and the Molecular Biology Award from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2006). Dr. Breaker has cofounded two biotechnology companies and is a scientific advisor for industry and for various government agencies. He serves on the editorial board for the scientific journals RNA Biology, RNA, Interdisciplinary Reviews: RNA, and Chemistry & Biology. He earned a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Purdue University. He served as a member of National Academies’ The Standing Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science.
Dr. John Clarke
JOHN CLARKE is a professor of astronomy at Boston University. Prior to joining the faculty at Boston University, he worked at University of California, Berkeley’s Space Science Laboratory, NASA’s Marshall and Goddard space flight centers, and the University of Michigan. Dr. Clarke served as the deputy project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope, he was a science team member on the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 project, and has participated in the flight of six sounding rocket experiments. He is presently a co-investigator on several spacecraft instruments, including the Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph on the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission, the Probing of Hermean Exosphere by Ultraviolet Spectroscopy on the European Space Agency’s Bepi-Colombo mission to Mercury, and the ultraviolet imaging spectrograph instrument on NASA’s Juno Jupiter orbiter. Dr. Clarke’s main research interests are in planetary atmospheres, their auroral and airglow emission, and ultraviolet space instrumentation. He received his B.S. in physics from Denison University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in physics from the Johns Hopkins University. He was a member of the of the National Academies’ Planetary Science Decadal Survey: 2013-2022: Giant Planets Panel and was also a member of The Standing Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science.
Dr. Bethany L. Ehlmann
BETHANY L. EHLMANN is an assistant professor of planetary science at the California Institute of Technology. She is also a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Ehlmann’s research interests focus on planetary surface processes, infrared spectroscopy, the evolution of Mars, and chemical weathering and hydrothermal alteration throughout the solar system, among others. Previously, she was a European Union Marie Curie Fellow and a collaborator on the Mars Exploration rovers during their primary and first extended missions. Dr. Ehlmann is a co-investigator for the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars, participating scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory mission, co-investigator for the Mars-2020 rover Mastcam-Z and SHERLOC instruments, and an affiliate of the Dawn science team. She is a recipient of American Geophysical Union’s Macelwane medal, the Committee on Space Research’s Zeldovich medal, the Mineralogical Society of America, and the Distinguished Lecturer award as well as NASA Group Achievement Awards. Dr. Ehlmann earned an A.B. in earth and planetary sciences and environmental studies from Washington University, St. Louis, she received her M.S. in enviornomental change and management and geography (by res.) from the University of Oxford. She earned a M.S. and Ph.D. in geological sciences from Brown University. She served as a member of the National Academies’ Standing Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science.
Dr. Sarah M. Horst
SARAH M. HÖRST is an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Her primary research interest is atmospheric chemistry, particularly the complex organic chemistry occurring in the atmosphere or on the surface of bodies in the solar system. Previously, Dr. Hörst was a National Science Foundation astronomy and astrophysics postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado. She is a recipient of the Gerard P. Kuiper Memorial Award from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona. She earned a B.S. in planetary science and in literature from the California Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. in planetary science from The University of Arizona. Dr. Hörst’s served as a member of the National Academies’ Standing Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science.
Dr. James F. Kasting
JAMES F. KASTING is Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University (PSU). His research interests include atmospheric evolution, planetary atmospheres and paleoclimates. Before joining PSU, he spent two years at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado and seven years in the Space Science Division at NASA’s Ames Research Center. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life, and the American Geophysical Union. He has published dozens of papers and two books, The Earth System and How to Find a Habitable Planet. Dr. Kasting is the recipient of the Stanley Miller Medal, also known as the NAS Award in Early Earth and Life Sciences. He earned his A.B. in chemistry and physics from Harvard University, and his M.S. in physics and atmospheric science from the University of Michigan where he also earned his Ph.D. in atmospheric science. Dr. Kasting’s service on National Academies activities includes membership on the Committee for US-USSR Workshop on Planetary Sciences, the Panel to Review Terrestrial Planet Finder Science Goals, and chair of the organizing committee Searching for Life across Space and Time: A Workshop.
Dr. Edwin S. Kite
EDWIN S. KITE is an assistant professor of planetary science at the University of Chicago where he also leads the university’s planetary geoscience research group. His research interests include understanding the habitability of early Mars, modeling surface-interior exchange on Europa and Enceladus, and modeling rocky exoplanets. Previously, Dr. Kite was an O.K. Earl Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology, and a Harry Hess Postdoctoral Research Associate and a postdoctoral research associate in astrophysics, both at Princeton University. He is a recipient of the Greeley Early Career Award in Planetary Science from the American Geophysical Union. Dr. Kite earned his B.A. and M.S. in natural sciences (physical sciences) from the University of Cambridge, England, and his Ph.D. in planetary geoscience from the University of California, Berkeley. He has not previously served on a committee of the National Academies.
Dr. Alyssa Rhoden
ALYSSA RHODEN is an assistant professor of planetary science at Arizona State University in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. Dr. Rhoden utilizes a novel combination of numerical modeling, statistical analysis, and photogeology to interpret the surfaces of icy ocean worlds to assess their interiors, orbits, and habitability through time. Dr. Rhoden has spent over a decade investigating Jupiter’s ocean moon, Europa, and has now expanded her research to include Saturnian moons - Mimas, Enceladus, and Tethys - and Pluto’s moon, Charon. She participated in planning NASA’s multi-flyby mission to Europa and a future mission to land on Europa’s surface. Dr. Rhoden has twice participated in the NAS-Kavli Frontiers of Science program, a forum for promising early career scientists, and she was awarded an Early Career Fellowship by NASA. She received her Ph.D. in planetary science from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Rhoden has no prior experience working with the National Academies.
Mr. Mark P. Saunders
MARK P. SAUNDERS is an independent consultant. Since retiring from NASA, he has been consulting to various NASA offices providing program/project management and systems engineering expertise. This has included support to the Office of Chief Engineer, the Office of Independent Program and Cost Evaluation, the Mars Program and the Science Office for Mission Assessments (at Langley Research Center). He has participated in the rewriting of NASA’s policy on program/project management; advised and supported the Agency’s independent program/project review process; and has supported the review of various programs and projects. At NASA headquarters Mr. Saunders served as director of the independent program assessment office, where he was responsible for enabling the independent review of the Agency’s programs and projects at life cycle milestones to ensure the highest probability of mission success. At NASA’s Langley Research Center he was initially the deputy director and then the director, Space Access and Exploration Program Office (SAEPO) and had the responsibility for planning, directing and coordinating the center's research, technology, and flight programs for advanced aerospace transportation and human/robotic exploration systems. Prior to this he was the manager of Exploration Programs and led all LaRC space exploration research and development activities supporting the agency’s Aerospace Technology (AST), Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) and Space Science Enterprises (SSE). At the office of space science Mr. Saunders’ served as program manager for the Discovery Program, and at the space station freedom program operations he served as special assistant to the deputy director. He has received a Presidential Meritorious Rank Award, numerous Outstanding Performance awards, and three NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals. He earned his B.S. in industrial engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Mr. Saunder’s National Academies service includes membership on the Committee on the Review of MEPAG Report on Planetary Protection for Mars Special Regions and the Standing Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science.
Dr. David J. Stevenson
DAVID J. STEVENSON (NAS) is the Marvin L. Goldberger Professor of Planetary Science at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Dr. Stevenson’s research focus is theoretical planetary science, including Earth, large moons, and planets in other solar systems. His research applies condensed matter physics and fluid dynamics to data from space missions, including NASA’s Galileo, Cassini and Juno missions. Previously, Dr. Stevenson served as chairman of the Geological and Planetary Sciences Division and as chairman of the faculty at Caltech. Dr. Stevenson was elected as a foreign associate of the National Academies in 2004. He is also a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Advancement for the Association of Science, and the Royal Society (London). He is a winner of the Division of Planetary Science (American Astronomical Society) Urey Prize, AGU’s Whipple Award and the Hess Medal. Dr. Stevenson received his B.S. in physics and an M.S. in theoretical physics from the University of Victoria, and his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Cornell University. He has served on numerous National Academies’ activities including as a member of the Standing Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science, the Panel on Solar System Exploration of the Committee on Priorities for Space Science Enabled by Nuclear Power and Propulsion, the Astro2010 Panel on Planetary Systems and Star Formation, the Committee on Planetary Science Decadal Survey: 2013-2022, and as the vice chair on the Committee on Planetary Science Decadal Survey: 2013-2022: Satellites Panel.