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Project Information

Project Information

Review of the NASA Science Mission Directorate Science Plan

Project Scope:

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will convene an ad hoc committee to conduct an assessment of NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) draft Science Plan, which will be publicly available, and issue a report addressing the following issues:

     1.  Level of ambition of the specified strategies in light of current and emerging opportunities to advance Earth and space science over the next 5 years;
     2.  Ability of SMD to meet the science objectives in the most recent decadal surveys through implementation of specified strategies;
     3.  Identification of additional strategies for SMD's consideration; and
     4.  General readability and clarity of presentation.

Status: Current


Project Duration (months): 4 month(s)

RSO: Smith, David


Space Studies Board


Earth Sciences
Space and Aeronautics

Geographic Focus:

Committee Membership

Committee Post Date: 07/22/2019

Jeff Dozier - (Chair)
JEFF DOZIER is a Distinguished Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He founded the Bren School and served as its first dean for six years. His research interests are in the fields of snow hydrology, Earth-system science, remote sensing, and information systems. He has led interdisciplinary studies in two areas: one addresses hydrologic science, environmental engineering, and social science in the water environment; the other involves the integration of environmental science and remote sensing with computer science and technology. He was a principal investigator on the Landsat 4 and 5 programs, when the satellites carrying the first Landsat Thematic Mapper instruments were launched. He served as the senior project scientist for NASA’s Earth Observing System when the configuration for the system was established. He is a fellow of the AGU and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honorary professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the NASA Public Service Medal. He also helped Disney Animation Studios win the 2014 Oscar for Best Animated Feature, for the film Frozen. He received a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Michigan. He has previously served on many Academies’ committees and has chaired eight of them.
Steven J. Battel
STEVEN J. BATTEL, NAE, is president of Battel Engineering, and provides engineering, development, and review services to NASA, the Department of Defense, and university and industrial clients. His areas of specialization include program management, cost and schedule evaluation, systems engineering, advanced technology development, spacecraft avionics, power systems, high-voltage systems, precision electronics, and scientific instrument design. He developed scientific instruments for recent space missions including Curiosity, Mars-Phoenix, Cassini, HST, LADEE, MAVEN, ExoMars and Mars2020. Mr. Battel was a member of the Hubble Space Telescope External Readiness Review Team for SM-2, SM3A, SM3B and SM4; the AXAF/Chandra Independent Assessment Team; the TDRS-H/I/J Independent Review Team; the Mars Polar Lander Failure Review Board; and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Genesis Failure Review Board. He is a current or former member of more than 80 review boards for NASA missions. Prior to Battel Engineering, he worked as an engineer, researcher, and manager at the University of Michigan, the Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. Battel is a fellow of the AIAA and AAAS and a member of Sigma Xi. He is currently a member of the AURA Space Telescope Institute Council. He has previously served on an Academies’ Committee.
Victoria E. Hamilton
VICTORIA E. HAMILTON (vice chair) is a staff scientist and acting section manager at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in the Department of Space Studies. Hamilton has extensive experience with laboratory spectroscopy and Mars data analysis, as an affiliate of the Mars Global Surveyor TES science team, and as a participating scientist on the Mars Odyssey and Mars Science Laboratory missions. She is a science team co-investigator and deputy instrument scientist on the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission. She has published on laboratory mineral and meteorite spectroscopy, numerical modeling of infrared spectra, martian surface composition, martian atmospheric aerosol composition, and surface thermophysical properties. Hamilton has built, operated, and managed a NASA-supported spectroscopy laboratory equipped with three spectrometers for measuring visible, near infrared, and thermal infrared properties of rocks, minerals, and meteorites in reflectance and emission. She has received the NASA Group Achievement Award for the MSL Science Office Development and Operations Team. She received her Ph.D. in geology from Arizona State University. She has previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Melissa A. McGrath
MELISSA A. McGRATH is a senior scientist at the SETI Institute. Her research expertise includes planetary and satellites atmospheres and magnetospheres, particularly imaging and spectroscopic studies of Jupiter’s Galilean satellites. She is currently a co-investigator on the Ultraviolet Spectrometer instrument on the ESA JUICE mission to Ganymede, as well as a co-investigator on two instruments for NASA’s Europa Clipper mission. Previously, McGrath served as chief scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. McGrath has served as the chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences; as president of the International Astronomical Union’s Commission 16 (Physical Studies of Planets and Satellites); and as scientific editor for both The Astronomical Journal and the Astrophysical Journal Letters. McGrath has been awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal; the NASA Superior Accomplishment Award; and the NASA Ames Honor Award in Lunar Science. Dr. McGrath earned her Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Virginia. She has previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Anna M. Michalak
ANNA M. MICHALAK is a faculty member in the Department of Global Ecology of the Carnegie Institution for Science. She is also a professor in the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University. Prior to joining Carnegie, she was the Frank and Brooke Transue Faculty Scholar and associate professor at the University of Michigan. Dr. Michalak studies the cycling and emissions of greenhouse gases at urban to global scales—scales directly relevant to informing climate and policy—primarily through the use of atmospheric observations. She also explores climate change impacts on freshwater and coastal water quality via influences on nutrient delivery to, and on conditions within, water bodies. Her approach is focused on the development of spatiotemporal statistical data fusion methods that optimize the use of limited in situ and satellite data. She is the lead author of the U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Plan, a former editor of the journal Water Resources Research, chair of the scientific advisory board for the European Integrated Carbon Observation System, member of the OCO-2 science team, and former member of the NASA Advisory Council Early Science Subcommittee. Michalak is the recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (nominated by NASA), the NSF CAREER award, and the Leopold Fellowship in environmental leadership, among other recognitions. She holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in civil and environmental engineering from Stanford University, and a B.S. in environmental engineering from the University of Guelph, Canada. Dr. Michalak has served on an Academies’ Committee.
Robyn Millan
ROBYN MILLAN is a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College. She previously held research appointments at Dartmouth and at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Millan’s research includes the use of high-altitude scientific balloon experiments and CubeSats to study Earth’s radiation belts. She was principal investigator (PI) for the Balloon Array for Radiation-belt Relativistic Electron Losses (BARREL), and is currently the PI for REAL (Relativistic Electron Atmospheric Loss), a Cubesat that will make high time resolution measurements of electron pitch angle and energy distributions in low Earth orbit in order to characterize the mechanisms responsible for scattering radiation belt electrons. Dr. Millan received her Ph.D. in physics at the University of California, Berkeley. She has served as secretary for the Space Physics and Aeronomy section of the American Geophysical Union. Previously, she has served as co-chair for the COSPAR Scientific Roadmap on Small Satellites for Space Science. Dr. Millan is a recipient of NASA’s Exceptional Public Achievement Medal and Dartmouth's John M. Manley Huntington Award for Newly Promoted Faculty. She has previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Preethi Nair
PREETHI NAIR is an assistant professor at the University of Alabama. She is an observational astronomer interested in the formation and evolution of galaxies. Her research is particularly focused on advanced analysis of data produced in large surveys as a method to explore the evolution of galaxies. Her doctoral work compared the visual and quantitative morphologies of low and high redshift galaxies. Professor Nair received her doctoral degree from the University of Toronto in 2009. Previously she attended the University of Delhi and the Indian Institute of Technology where she earned her B.S. and M.S. respectively. Nair has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Tuija Pulkkinen
TUIJA PULKKINEN, NAS, is chair of and professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering. Her research interests cover widely solar wind – magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, storm and substorm dynamics, energy and plasma transport from the solar wind into the magnetosphere - ionosphere system, and auroral region electrodynamics and its coupling to the magnetosphere. Previously, she served as professor, vice president, and dean of the School of Electrical Engineering at the Aalto University in Espoo, Finland. Prior to her association with Aalto University, she was a scientist, unit head, and research professor at the Finnish Meteorological Institute in Helsinki, Finland. She has been awarded the EGU Julius Bartels Medal, the AGU Fellowship and James B. Macelwane Medal, Academia Europaea, associate of the Royal Astronomical Society, and Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters. She earned her Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Helsinki. She has previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Keivan G. Stassun
KEIVAN G. STASSUN is the Stevenson Endowed professor of Physics and Astronomy at Vanderbilt University. He is also the founding director of the Vanderbilt Initiative in Data-intensive Astrophysics (VIDA). His research focuses on the formation of stars and planetary systems, which increasingly involves approaches at the interface of astronomy, physics, computer science, and informatics. Stassun has served as the general councilor of the American Physical Society and as chair of the American Astronomical Society's Committee on the Status of Minorities. He’s known for his leadership and distinction as a scientist and as an innovator in broadening the participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. Stassun received the 2018 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. He earned a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Stassun has served on the Academies’ Ford Foundation Fellowships Review Panel on Physical Sciences, Mathematics & Computer Science, the Committee on Understanding and Addressing the Underrepresentation of Women in Particular Science and Engineering Disciplines, the Committee on the Effective Mentoring in STEMM, and as a member of the Astro2010 Decadal Survey Infrastructure Study Group on Education and Public Outreach. Stassum has previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Mark H. Thiemens
MARK H THIEMENS NAS, is the Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Chancellor's Associates Chair in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. His research is centered on use of the mass independent fractionation process for stable isotopes to study the origin and evolution of the solar system, definition of the source and transformation of greenhouse gases in the troposphere, chemistry of the stratosphere and mesosphere, chemistry of the ancient Martian atmosphere, and the origin and evolution of oxygen-ozone and life in the Earth's Precambrian. He earned his Ph.D. in geophysics from Florida State University. He has served on numerous boards and committees of the National Academies including, Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, PNAS Editorial Board, and the Committee on the Review of Planetary Protection Requirements for Mars Sample-Return Missions. Thiemens has previously served on an Academies’ committee.

Committee Membership Roster Comments

Added member Anna M. Michalak (accepted the appointment 7/20/19).



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