Searching for Life in the Solar System and Beyond
Space Policy and History Forum #16
by Dr. Ellen Stofan
Chief Scientist, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA science pushes the boundaries of our knowledge about Earth, the Solar System including our Sun, and the universe. Our studies of Earth are helping us to better monitor and model our changing climate, while exploring the planets of our solar system and planets around other stars helps to address the question – Are we alone? From exploring Europa, to building the James Webb Space Telescope, to sending human explorers to Mars
NASA’s current and future science endeavors are aimed at addressing this fundamental question.
Dr. Ellen Stofan was appointed NASA chief scientist on August 25, 2013, serving as principal advisor to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency’s science programs and science-related strategic planning and investments. Prior to her appointment, Stofan was vice president of Proxemy Research in Laytonsville, Md., and honorary professor in the department of Earth sciences at University College London in England. Her research has focused on the geology of Venus, Mars, Saturn’s moon Titan, and Earth. Stofan is an associate member of the Cassini Mission to Saturn Radar Team and a co-investigator on the Mars Express Mission’s MARSIS sounder. She also was principal investigator on the Titan Mare Explorer, a proposed mission to send a floating lander to a sea on Titan. Her appointment as chief scientist marks a return to NASA for Dr. Stofan. From 1991 through 2000, she held a number of senior scientist positions at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., including chief scientist for NASA’s New Millennium Program, deputy project scientist for the Magellan Mission to Venus, and experiment scientist for SIR-C, an instrument that provided radar images of Earth on two shuttle flights in 1994. Stofan holds master and doctorate degrees in geological sciences from Brown University in Providence, R.I., and a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. She has received many awards and honors, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Stofan has authored and published numerous professional papers, books and book chapters, and has chaired committees including the National Research Council Inner Planets Panel for the recent Planetary Science Decadal Survey and the Venus Exploration Analysis Group.
Date and Time
June 22, 2015 (Monday), 4:00-5:00 P.M.
Location, Parking, and Access
The lecture will be held at the National Air and Space Museum, 600 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C., 4:00-5:00 p.m. Space is limited to 50 attendees, so please RSVP to Roger to get your name on the list. This will be for access to the 3rd floor of the Museum, where we will be meeting in the Director’s Conference Room. You may check in and obtain a badge for access to the building at the guard desk just to the right as you enter the Independence Ave. doors. If you have any questions regarding access, please contact Roger. Parking is not available in NASM, and is limited elsewhere; we recommend using the Metro system for travel to the National Air and Space Museum—the Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza stops are close by.