Tyler Nordgren is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Redlands. Prior to arriving at Redlands in 2001 he was an astronomer at both Lowell Observatory and the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. He earned his PhD in astronomy from Cornell University in 1997 for work on dark matter in interacting spiral galaxies. In addition to publishing roughly two dozen peer reviewed scientific articles he is also the author of “Stars Above, Earth Below: A guide to astronomy in the national parks,” a popular science book dedicated to revealing what visitors to America’s national parks can observe in a dark night sky. Since 2007, Dr. Nordgren has worked closely with the U.S. National Park Service Night Sky Program to promote astronomy outreach and night-sky preservation in national parks. Dr. Nordgren has helped document this vanishing landscape with award-winning artwork and night sky photography that has been on display in galleries from New York City to Flagstaff, Arizona and has been used in a number of national parks. He is a past-member of the Board of Directors for the International Dark-Sky Association. In 2012, NASA’s Curiosity rover joined Spirit and Opportunity on Mars carrying sundials, or “Marsdials” which Dr. Nordgren helped design with a team of seven other scientists and artists. His new book on the Great American solar eclipse of 2017 is coming out next year.
This week we have Fred Calef III hosting astrotweeps. Fred graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in Geological Sciences in 2010. His dissertation was on fresh small rayed impact craters on Mars, looking at ejecta retention rates and what they tell us about the current environment and geomorphic evolution of the surface. He postdoc’d at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) via the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) doing landing site analysis for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL, aka Curiosity) as well as trained as an Engineering Camera Payload Uplink Lead (ECAM-PUL) for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity. Towards the end of his postdoc, he was hired at JPL as the Geospatial Information Scientist, aka ‘Keeper of the Maps’, and Co-Localization Scientist for MSL. Besides work on MER and MSL, Fred is on the InSight lander science team as ‘Keeper of the Map’ for placement of a seismometer (SEIS) and heatprobe (HP3) as well as doing landing site analysis for InSight and the Mars2020 rover. You can find Fred on twitter at @cirquelar
Dr. Barbara Cohen leads the planetary science group at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Originally from upstate New York, Dr. Cohen earned her BS in Geology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and her PhD in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona. She is now a planetary scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center interested in geochronology and geochemistry of planetary samples from the Moon, Mars and asteroids.
Dr. Cohen serves within NASA representing science interests and capabilities within human spaceflight planning. She is a Principal Investigator on multiple NASA research projects, a member of the Mars Exploration Rover mission team still operating the Opportunity rover, and the principal investigator for Lunar Flashlight, a lunar cubesat mission that will be launched in 2018 as an SLS secondary payload. She is the PI for the MSFC Noble Gas Research Laboratory (MNGRL) and is developing a flight version of her noble-gas geochronology technique, the Potassium-Argon Laser Experiment (KArLE), for use on future planetary landers and rovers. She has participated in the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) over three seasons, where she helped recovered more than a thousand pristine samples for the US collection, and asteroid 6186 Barbcohen is named for her.