Introducing Tyler Nordgren

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.


Introducing Fred Calef III

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

Introducing Barbara Cohen

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.

Introducing Moses Milazzo

Moses Milazzo was born on and grew up on an almost-self-sustaining, off-the-grid ranch on the border of the Navajo Reservation, between Flagstaff and Winslow, Arizona. Meteor Crater was visible as a distant mesa. Moses attended elementary school on the reservation and high school in Flagstaff. The Milazzo ranch’s northern Arizona desert sky was so pristine and clear that the Milky Way was usually bright enough to light his morning path to the bus stop (light pollution is encroaching even on this isolated ranch). From very early in life, Moses was fascinated with mathematics and in the second-grade decided to become a mathematics teacher. During high school, he noticed that the teachers he connected with best had life experiences outside of teaching and so he decided to study a science of some sort before teaching.

Moses attended Northern Arizona University for a few of years while he dabbled in mathematics, physics, electrical engineering, computer science, and teaching. While Moses attended NAU, he worked at the U.S. Geological Survey providing computer support and mosaicing Magellan RADAR images of Venus. When he decided to get his act together and finish school, Moses moved to Tucson to finish his B.S. in mathematics and joined the Planetary Image Research Laboratory at the University of Arizona working with the Galileo SSI team planning, processing, and interpreting images of the Jovian moons. When he completed his B.S. in mathematics, Moses stayed at the University of Arizona to pursue a Ph.D. in planetary sciences. For his dissertation, he studied thermal remote sensing of endogenic activity at Io (lots!) and Mars (not so much!). After completing his Ph.D., Moses joined the MRO/HiRISE calibration and targeting teams. After working with the HiRISE team for several years, Moses moved to Flagstaff to rejoin the USGS Astrogeology Science Center. Last year he took a year off from science to teach mathematics and computer science at a local middle and high school. Moses is back at the Astrogeology Science Center working on HiRISE calibration, image processing and analysis software development, and CubeSat mission development while also teaching high school robotics.
The rest of the year you can find him tweeting at @OtherOrbScience