Radiation Protection in Space Exploration
Dr. John W. Wilson, NASA Langley Research Center (retired)
TUESDAY: January 8, 2008 2:00 P.M. in the Pearl Young Theater
Past space missions beyond the confines of the Earth’s protective magnetic field have been of short duration and protection from the effects of solar particle events was of primary concern. The extension of operational infrastructure beyond low Earth orbit to enable routine access to more interesting regions of space will require protection from the hazards of the accumulated exposures of Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR). There are significant challenges in providing protection from the long duration exposure to GCR: the human risks to the exposures are highly uncertain and safety requirements places unreasonable demands in supplying sufficient shielding materials in the design. A vigorous approach to future radiation health-risk mitigation requires a triage of techniques (using biological and technical factors) and reduction of the uncertainty in radiation risk models. This lecture discusses the triage of factors for risk mitigation with associated materials issues and engineering design methods.
John W. Wilson was a Senior Research Scientist in the Analytical and Computational Methods Branch of the Structures and Materials Competency at NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, until his retirement in December 2007. He received numerous awards throughout his distinguished career, which begain at NASA Langley in 1963.
Advanced Aircraft Carrier Technology: A Shipbuilder’s Perspective
David P. Rice, Engineering Research Manager of Aircraft Carrier Technology, Northrop Grumman Newport News
TUESDAY: February 5, 2008 2:00 P.M. in the Pearl Young Theater
The presentation will cover innovations in aircraft carrier technology. The change in function of the aircraft carrier from its early days to the current aircraft carrier, which is the “center piece of the Navy”, to future potential applications will be discussed. The talk will speculate on the requirements of future aircraft carriers and the technologies needed to meet those requirements.
David Rice is the Engineering Research Manager of Aircraft Carrier Technology at Northrop Grumman Newport News (NGNN). He has more than 30 years of shipbuilding experience. In his current capacity, David is responsible for all Aircraft Carrier R&D programs at NGNN. Previously, David was the manager of Advanced Materials Technology at NGNN. He has been involved in materials research & development programs for the past 20 years. David currently serves on the ASM International Advisory Technical Awareness Committee. He is a member of the Industrial Advisory Board at Jefferson National Laboratory. David is the past chairman of the Executive Steering Committee for the Navy’s MANTECH Composite Center, The Composite Consortium, and he also served as the Co-Chairmen for Virginia’s Advanced Materials Sector Steering Committee. He completed the four-year NGNN Apprentice Program, and he graduated from Virginia Tech in Materials Engineering.
Why the World’s Information Technology Leader Can’t Count Votes
Professor Bryan Pfaffenberger, University of Virginia
TUESDAY: March 4, 2008 2:00 P.M. in the Pearl Young Theater
During the U.S. presidential election in 2000, problems related to Florida voting machines threw the election into chaos, to the point that it was ultimately decided by a controversial Supreme Court decision (Bush v. Gore). Controversy continues over electronic voting machines. There is increasing support for a voter-verified paper audit trail amidst continuing evidence of widespread malfunctions and irregularities, but recent experience reveals that this “technological fix” may not work. Why can’t the world’s information technology leader count votes without controversy? This presentation draws from my research on the history of voting machines to frame an answer. Early in the voting machine’s development, two ways of telling stories about voting machines developed. The pro-voting machine view, which I call machine infallibility, trusted machines, but not people. The anti-voting machine view, which I call community oversight, trusted people, not machines. Although the technologies have changed radically, Americans still argue about voting machines in the terms established during the opening decades of the voting machine’s use. What this discourse ignores is that the U.S., unlike other stable, industrialized democracies, has failed to develop a nonpartisan, professional system of election administration, in the absence of which no voting machine will prove satisfactory.
Bryan Pfaffenberger (Ph.D. Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1977, and currently Assoc. Prof. of Science, Technology, and Society at the Univ. of Virginia) is a scholar who works in science & technology studies (STS), an interdisciplinary field that examines the reciprocal interactions of science, technology, and society. His work on the history of the online bibliographic database industry, Democratizing Information (1990), won the Book of the Year award from the American Society for Information Science, his work on the social history of irrigation technology in Sri Lanka won the Albert Payson Usher Prize of the Society for the History of Technology. He is currently working on the history of voting machines in the U.S. with the assistance of a Scholar’s Award from the National Science Foundation. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with his wife, Suzanne, and a cranky old cat.
An Energy Revolution for the Greenhouse Century
Dr. Marty Hoffert, Professor Emeritus of Physics, New York University
TUESDAY: April 1, 2008 2:00 P.M. in the H.J.E. Reid Auditorium
The world’s critical energy problems require solutions beyond those policy makers are exploring now. Global warming is accelerating the rate at which radical transformations of energy systems away from fossil fuels are needed to avoid “dangerous human interference with the climate system.” Given the world’s large — but climatically problematical, if CO2 is freely vented to the atmosphere — coal resources, such a transition might be deferred to the 22 Century. But global warming is the canary in the mine. Already arctic sea ice, tundra, alpine glaciers and the Greenland Ice cap are melting; sea level is rising; tropical disease vectors carrying West Nile virus and cholera penetrate temperate latitudes; and sea surface temperatures have warmed to the point where intense hurricanes like Katrina are not only more probable; but happen. These impacts will only worsen under “business as usual.” What to do? To prevent > 2 degree Celsius warming, above which disintegration of the Greenland Ice Sheet and West Antarctic Ice sheets may become irreversible, as global GDP continues growing 2-3%/yr, carbon cycle and climate models indicate that 100-300% of human primary power consumed today must come from some combination of non-CO2 emitting energy sources and “negawatts” of demand reduction from by midcentury. No “silver bullet” or combination of bullets on the shelf will easily solve this problem. But technological options exist in principle that could work with prompt and massive R & D and scale-up: (1) coal gasification combined cycle power plants producing electricity and fuel cell grade hydrogen with CO2 sequestered underground, (2) new generations of operationally safe, proliferation-resistant and waste-managed nuclear reactors burning fuel bred from U-238 and thorium (and eventually fusion) and (3) renewable energy, primarily solar and wind, with innovative transmission and storage technologies deployed at the global scale (including, space-based solar). Given the decades lost since the US last had an appropriate-scale alternate energy R & D program in the 70s I will argue that only a radical and disruptive Manhattan Project- or Apollo Program-style approach will work; and that engineers and scientists need to become pro-active on this issue.
Martin I. Hoffert is Professor Emeritus of Physics and former Chair of the Department of Applied Science at New York University. His academic background includes a B.S. (1960) in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; M.S. (1964) and Ph.D. (1967) from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now the Polytechnic Institute of New York) in Astronautics; and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, M.A.L.S. (1969) from the New School for Social Research where he did graduate work in sociology and economics. He has been on the research staff of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, General Applied Science Laboratories, Advanced Technology Laboratories, Riverside Research Institute and National Academy of Sciences Senior Resident Research Associate at the NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Prof. Hoffert has published broadly in fluid mechanics, plasma physics, atmospheric science, oceanography, planetary atmospheres, environmental science, solar and winds energy conversion and space solar power. His work in geophysics aimed at development of theoretical models of atmospheres and oceans to address environmental issues, including the ocean/climate model first employed by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to assess global warming from different scenarios of fossil fuel use. His early model of the evolving CO2 greenhouse in Mars’ atmosphere is also of interest today — providing both an explanation of Mars’ riverbed-like channels formed in the distant past and a motivation for terraforming its atmosphere for human habitability in the future.His research in alternate energy conversion includes wind tunnel and full-scale experiments on innovative wind turbines, photovoltaic generation of hydrogen and wireless power transmission (WPT) applied to solar power satellites. His present efforts focus on energy technologies that could stabilize climate change from the fossil fuel greenhouse – including (but not limited to) space solar power. He is a Member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is presently a consultant to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Versatility Software, Inc.
An Update on Strategic Initiatives in Modeling and Simulation in Hampton Roads, the Commonwealth of Virginia and Nationally
Dr. Michael McGinnis, Executive Director of the Virginia Modeling Analysis and Simulation Center
TUESDAY: May 6, 2008 2:00 P.M. in the H.J.E. Reid Auditorium
The Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) of Old Dominion University was established in 1997 to stimulate and lead the growth of modeling and simulation as both an academic discipline and an industry within the Hampton Roads Region and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. To this end, VMASC has been collaborated with federal, industry and academic partners to advance the discipline and industry of modeling and simulation. This presentation will provide an overview of recent political initiatives and advancements in M&S research and development. Additionally, there will be an overview of growth areas currently engaged in the development of a vision, a strategy and a roadmap for the future of M&S research and development.
Mike McGinnis is the Executive Director of the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center at Old Dominion University and is a retired Brigadier General, who was formerly a Professor and Department Head of the Systems Engineering Department at the United States Military Academy, of which he is also a graduate. He received his M.S. in Applied Mathematics and Operations Research from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in Systems and Industrial Engineering from the University of Arizona. He has also received a M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. His professional and scholarly body of work includes three national awards and over 40 published and peer-reviewed papers published in the fields of systems engineering and operations research.
Impacts of Climate Change on Coastal Virginia and Chesapeake Bay: Physical, Chemical and Ecological Processes
Dr. James Bauer, Professor of Marine Science in the School of Marine Science, College of William & Mary
TUESDAY: June 3, 2008 2:00 P.M. in the H.J.E. Reid Auditorium and cosponsored by the Green Series
As a result of their position at the interface between terrestrial and ocean environments, coastal regions of the world are experiencing the impacts of climate change in unique ways. Physical factors such as increasing water temperatures and sea level rise, chemical factors such as seawater hypoxia and acidification, and ecological factors such as species distributions, food web dynamics and ecosystem structure are all undergoing unprecedented changes in coastal environments, with even greater changes expected in the decades ahead. Coastal Virginia, in particular Chesapeake Bay, is considered one of the most vulnerable coastal zones in the United States with respect to present and predicted climate change impacts. This presentation will examine the state of our current understanding of the physical and ecological changes that have already taken place in coastal Virginia and Chesapeake Bay over the past 50-100 years, as well as predicted future changes on the basis of ongoing experimental, observational and modeling studies.
Dr. James Bauer is a Professor of Marine Science in the School of Marine Science, College of Wm. & Mary. He has worked on the chemistry and ecology of marine and aquatic systems for nearly 2 decades. His area of expertise is on the cycling of carbon in these systems and on the interactions between land and the coastal ocean.
The Life and Works of Galileo: A Guided Tour
Dr. Kerry V. Magruder, Assistant Professor History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma
TUESDAY: July 8, 2008 2:00 P.M. in the H.J.E. Reid Auditorium
Everyone has heard of Galileo and physicists know his science by heart. But not many people know the rewarding experience of reading Galileo for themselves, despite the fact that this founder of modern science is regarded as one of the greatest prose writers of all time. This presentation will be a reader’s guide to Galileo’s works. Come learn what he wrote, when, and why. The remarkable Galileo collection of the University of Oklahoma History of Science Collections holds first editions of all of Galileo’s printed works. In this multimedia tour of the collection, we will come away with a deeper understanding of who Galileo was and what he accomplished, and glean some favorite quotations along the way. To come into touch with Galileo’s words is to touch the past in an authentic, real way. Sit back, relax, enjoy the richly illustrated tour and create your own Galileo reading list.
No biogrpahy provide.
Mercury In a New Light: The First MESSENGER Flyby
Dr. Ralph L. McNutt, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
TUESDAY: August 12, 2008 2:00 P.M. in the H.J.E. Reid Auditorium
The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft, developed under NASA’s Discovery Program, will be the first probe to orbit the planet Mercury in March 2011. Launched in August 2004, MESSENGER successfully completed the first of three flybys of Mercury in January 2008. The Mercury Dual Imaging System acquired an 11-color mosaic of part of the hemisphere not seen by Mariner 10, including the entire Caloris basin; several large monochrome mosaics at a range of resolutions; a series of color frames designed for photometric analysis; and inbound and outbound movies. The Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer obtained the first high-resolution spectral reflectance measurements (at ultraviolet to near-infrared wavelengths) of surface composition, conducted limb scans of exospheric species, and mapped the composition and structure of the tail region. The Magnetometer measured Mercury’s internal field at low latitude and documented the major plasma boundaries of Mercury’s magnetosphere. The Energetic Particle and Plasma Spectrometer made the first measurements of low-energy ions in Mercury’s magnetosphere. The Mercury Laser Altimeter carried out the first space altimetric profile of the planet. Other instruments in the payload provided baseline measurements that will aid in the interpretation of data from the mission orbital phase. Together, the MESSENGER flyby observations have begun to advance our understanding of the innermost planet.
RALPH L. McNUTT, JR. is a Physicist and a member of the Principal Professional Staff of The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He received his B.S. in Physics at Texas A&M University in 1975 and his Ph.D. in Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980. He has been at APL since 1992 and before that held positions at Visidyne, Inc., M.I.T., and Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. Dr. McNutt is Project Scientist and a Co-Investigator on NASA’s MESSENGER mission to Mercury, Principal Investigator on the PEPSSI investigation on the New Horizons mission to Pluto, a Co-Investigator for the Voyager PLS and LECP instruments, and a Member of the Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer Team on the Cassini Orbiter spacecraft. He has held various NASA grants and served on various NASA review and planning panels and the Science and Technology Definition Teams for Solar Probe and Interstellar Probe. He is a Corresponding Member of International Academy of Astronautics, Fellow of The British Interplanetary Society, member of the American Astronomical Society and its Division of Planetary Sciences, the American Geophysical Union, Sigma Xi, The Planetary Society, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has published over 100 science and engineering papers and given over 150 professional and popular talks.
Eisenhower, Sputnik, and the Founding of NASA
Dr. Roger D. Launius
TUESDAY: September 9, 2008 2:00 P.M. in the H.J.E. Reid Auditorium
Roger D. Launius will trace briefly some of the major themes associated with the October 1957 launching of the first Earth-circling artificial satellite “Sputnik” by the Soviet Union which led to numerous actions in the United States aimed at “remediating” a Cold War crisis. These actions included the establishment of a separate civilian space agency charged with the conduct of an official program of scientific and technological space exploration – NASA. He will also discuss the transformation of federal science and technology that took place in the aftermath of the “crisis” and how it set in train a series of processes and policies that did not unravel until the end of the Cold War.
Roger D. Launius is a senior curator in the Division of Space History at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. and past chief historian of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (1990-2002). He has written or edited more than twenty books on aerospace history and also served as a consultant to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board in 2003.
NASA Human Spaceflight: Past, Present, and Future
Kenneth S. Reightler, Jr., Former Astronaut and Vice President, NASA Program Integration, Human Space Flight; Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co.
TUESDAY: October 7, 2008 2:00 P.M. in the H.J.E. Reid Auditorium
This presentation will review the NASA Human Spaceflight Program, starting with the early beginnings at NASA Langley, through the successful Moon landings, and on to current day operations with the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. Insights into the personal and emotional side of spaceflight will be provided. The presentation will conclude with a look-ahead to the future of human spaceflight.
Ken Reightler is Vice President, NASA Program Integration for the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. He is responsible for ensuring that all NASA activities that Lockheed Martin is supporting are well integrated from an organizational and technological perspective. This includes current as well as future programs. He is also responsible for strategic and business management for the Human Space Flight Line of Business.
Prior to joining the Lockheed Martin, Reightler spent eight years as an astronaut with NASA and piloted two shuttle missions. He also held various technical and management positions, including Chief of the Astronaut Office’s Space Station and Mission Support Branches.
Before joining NASA, Reightler served as Chief Flight Instructor at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland. His 22-year military career includes experience in naval aviation, both land- and carrier-based, logging over 5,000 hours of flying time in over 60 different types of aircraft. Retiring from active duty with the rank of Captain, U.S. Navy, Reightler received during his military career numerous special honors including the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and two NASA Space Flight Medals. He is also a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and a member of the Virginia Aviation hall of Fame.
NASA at 50: A Celebration of Science, Technology and the Spirit of Human Exploration
The Exploration of the Moon and Planets: A New Perspective on Earth
Dr. James W. Head III, Scherck Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences, Brown University
TUESDAY: October 14, 2008 2:00 P.M. in the H.J.E. Reid Auditorium
Sputnik launched a half-century journey into the Solar System that has completely changed our perception of our own Home Planet, Earth. During this period, NASA has undertaken systematic scientific exploration of the Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, comets, the asteroid belt, and Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and their satellites. NASA and international spacecraft have flown by, orbited, and/or landed on these bodies, a flyby is on the way to distant Pluto, and humans have explored six different sites on the Moon. Together, the results of this exploration have unveiled stunning planetary vistas and revealed the missing chapters of Earth history, its most formative early years. This perspective has provided a new understanding of how the Earth and other planetary bodies formed and evolved, and where we are heading in the future.
Jim Head is the Louis and Elizabeth Scherck Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences at Brown University. He came to Brown University in 1973, following his work with the NASA Apollo Lunar Exploration Program, during which he participated in selecting potential landing sites, training the Apollo astronauts, working in mission operations and analyzing the returned samples. His current research centers on the study of processes that form and modify planetary surfaces. Comparative planetology, the themes of planetary evolution, and application of these to the study of early Earth history are also of interest. He has followed up his research on volcanism, tectonism and glaciation with field studies on active volcanoes in Hawaii and at Mount St. Helens, on volcanic deposits on the seafloor with two deep-sea submersible dives, and during three field seasons in the Antarctic Dry Valleys. He has served as an investigator on missions such as the Soviet Venera 15/16 and Phobos missions, the US Magellan (Venus), Galileo (Jupiter), Mars Surveyor, MESSENGER (Mercury), Russian Mars 1996, ESA’s Mars Express Mission and NASA Space Shuttle missions. He has published several hundred professional papers on these topics.
NASA at 50: A Celebration of Science, Technology and the Spirit of Human Exploration
Science and Survival in the Anthropocene: Why NASA and Earth Science Are Vital for Human Wellbeing
Dr. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute and Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, Columbia University and Special Advisor to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the Millennium Development Goals.
TUESDAY: October 21, 2008 2:00 P.M. in the H.J.E. Reid Auditorium
Our generation’s greatest challenge is sustainable development: living peacefully, prosperously, and sustainably on a crowded planet. With 6.7 billion people putting unprecedented strains on the Earth’s physical systems, and on each other, the threats facing humanity are of a scale and complexity unique to human experience. We must quickly achieve a measure of science-based global cooperation that we’ve never before attained. There is indeed a global path to sustainability by mid-century, but it is a difficult path and will require our best efforts globally to stay on course. NASA has a unique and crucial role to play in meeting this generation’s challenge. NASA technology is at the very center of much of what we know, and need to understand, about the Earth’s climate, hydrology, carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, and ecosystem functioning. In future years, even more refined instrumentation and monitoring will be essential for our survival and wellbeing, as will the improved integration of physical-systems data with socioeconomic monitoring, another area of scientific inquiry which NASA has promoted and helped to pioneer.
Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan on a group of poverty reduction initiatives called the Millennium Development Goals. Sachs is internationally renowned for advising governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia and Africa on economic reforms and for his work with international agencies to promote poverty reduction, disease control, and debt reduction of poor countries. He was recently named among the 100 most influential leaders in the world by Time Magazine. He is author of hundreds of scholarly articles and many books. Sachs was recently elected into the Institute of Medicine and is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prior to joining Columbia, Sachs spent over twenty years at Harvard University, most recently as Director of the Center for International Development. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Sachs received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard University.
NASA at 50: A Celebration of Science, Technology and the Spirit of Human Exploration
50 Years of NASA Aeronautical Research
Roy V. Harris, Jr., Former Director of Aeronautics, NASA Langley Research Center
TUESDAY: October 28, 2008 2:00 P.M. in the H.J.E. Reid Auditorium
When NASA was created in 1958, its predecessor agency (the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) had been in existence for 43 years and had established itself as the unchallenged world leader in aeronautics research and technology development. The lecture will review NASA’s efforts to maintain this leadership role for the nation over the last 50 years, and will emphasize important NASA research contributions to both civil and military aviation. The lecture will conclude with some comments on the future challenges facing U.S. aeronautical research, and its importance to our national transportation, defense and competitiveness needs.
Mr. Harris is a graduate of Georgia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. He joined the Langley Research Center staff in 1958. He conducted research in supersonic aerodynamics for fifteen years before becoming Branch Head, Division Chief, Director for Aeronautics, and the Center Assistant Director for Research and Engineering. In addition to his Center duties, he was appointed the Agency Facility Group Director for Wind Tunnels and Aerothermodynamic Facilities in 1995. He retired from NASA in 1998. Since then, he has worked as a consultant and as a volunteer technical advisor to NAST, a NASA aeronautics advocacy group. He has published over 40 technical reports and papers. His awards include the AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award, the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership, the Virginia Peninsula Engineer of the Year Award, and the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive. He was elected to the grade of Fellow in the AIAA, received the AIAA Wright Brothers Lectureship in Aeronautics, and the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive. He was inducted into the Georgia Tech Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni, received the AIAA Reed Aeronautics Award, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and the ICAS Maurice Roy Medal “for outstanding contributions to international collaboration”.
NASA at 50: A Celebration of Science, Technology and the Spirit of Human Exploration
Phoenix Lander’s Odyssey to Mars – A 10 Year Journey
Prasun N. Desai, Ph.D., Senior Engineer, Atmospheric Flight & Entry Systems Branch, NASA Langley Research Center
TUESDAY: December 9, 2008 2:00 P.M. in the H.J.E. Reid Auditorium
On May 25, 2008, the Mars Phoenix Lander made the first successful powered landing on Mars since the Viking landings three decades earlier. Phoenix landed in the northern arctic plains of Mars. Its science objective was to study the history of water and habitability potential in the Martian arctic’s ice-rich soil. Phoenix’s journey to Mars began many years earlier in 1997 as NASA’s Mars Surveyor Program 2001 Lander, which was cancelled following the loss of its sister spacecraft the Mars Polar Lander in 1999. Lying essentially dormant and partially complete in storage, it literally rose from the ashes of the Mars Surveyor Program when it was reborn as Phoenix in 2003, as part of NASA’s Mars Scout Program. In the intervening years, the entry, descent and landing (EDL) system architecture went through a series of changes, resulting in a very different landing system that actually flew to the surface of Mars. This presentation will provide an overview of the Phoenix mission, focus on the EDL engineering challenges the mission faced, and provide an overview of NASA Langley’s contributions. Initial results from post-landing reconstruction analyses revealing some off-nominal hypersonic flight performance will also be discussed.
Dr. Desai has worked at NASA Langley Research Center for the past 18 years. He is a senior engineer applying expertise in the fields of atmospheric flight dynamics, engineering of entry systems, and design of planetary exploration system elements. Dr. Desai has contributed to the design, development, analyses, and flight operations of many NASA missions (Mars Exploration Rover, Stardust, Genesis, and Mars Phoenix Lander) pertaining to entry, descent, and landing of probes at Mars and Earth. He has served as the NASA Langley Lead for the Mars Exploration Rover mission that successfully landed the rovers “Sprint” and “Opportunity” on Mars. He aided in the design and developments of the Stardust and Genesis entry capsules that were first to return cometary and solar wind particles, respectively. Recently, Dr. Desai led the design of the entry, descent, and landing system for NASA Langley’s effort on the 2007 Mars Phoenix Lander, which successfully landed on Mars on May 25, 2008. Dr. Desai has received numerous awards and medals from NASA for his contributions. He has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rutgers University, a M.S. in Astronautics from the George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois. He is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and has authored or co-authored over 60 technical publications.