James L. Green, Director
Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters
Dr. Green received his Ph.D. in Space Physics from the University of Iowa in 1979 and began working in the Magnetospheric Physics Branch at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in 1980. At Marshall, Dr. Green developed and managed the Space Physics Analysis Network, which provided scientists, all over the world, with rapid access to data, other scientists, and specific NASA computer and information resources. In addition, Dr. Green was a safety diver in the Neutral Buoyancy tank making over 250 dives until he left MSFC in 1985.
From 1985 to 1992 he was the Head of the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The NSSDC is NASA’s largest space science data archive. In 1992 he became the Chief of the Space Science Data Operations Office until 2005 when he became the Chief of the Science Proposal Support Office. While at GSFC, Dr. Green was a co-investigator and the Deputy Project Scientist on the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) mission. From 1992 to 2000 he was also the Deputy Project Scientist for Mission Operations and Data Analysis for the Global Geospace Science Missions WIND and POLAR. He has written over 110 scientific articles in referred journals involving various aspects of the Earth’s and Jupiter’s magnetospheres and over 50 technical articles on various aspects of data systems and computer networks.
In August 2006, Dr. Green became the director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters. Over his career, Dr. Green has received a number of awards. In 1988 he received the Arthur S. Flemming award given for outstanding individual performance in the federal government and was awarded Japan’s Kotani Prize in 1996 in recognition of his international science data management activities.
Sean C. Solomon, MESSENGER Principal Investigator
The Carnegie Institution of Washington
As Principal Investigator for the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission, Sean Solomon heads a multi-institutional consortium of scientists and engineers who operate the small, efficient spacecraft, which launched in 2004 and will reach its target orbit in 2011.
To date, the only craft sent to Mercury was Mariner 10 in the 1970s, and it imaged less than half of the planet. With a suite of seven miniaturized instruments, MESSENGER will address questions that are key to understanding terrestrial planet evolution. Solomon's particular interests are to learn more about Mercury's bulk composition and what that tells us about planet formation in general; to investigate its volcanic, tectonic, and internal evolution; and to understand how the planet's magnetic field originated and determine the characteristics of Mercury's liquid outer core. Mariner 10 discovered that Mercury has a weak magnetic field, which may arise from an Earth-like electromagnetic dynamo in the planet's outer core. MESSENGER will investigate this question as well as the nature of the planet's thin atmosphere and the composition of the permanently shadowed polar deposits.
Solomon has also been a team member on a variety of other projects, including the Magellan mission to Venus, the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) investigation on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, and the Plume-Lithosphere Undersea Mantle Experiment (PLUME) on Earth. The Magellan mission produced global radar image and altimetric maps of the surface of Venus. Data from MOLA have been used to construct precise topographical maps to understand Martian geology, geophysics, and atmospheric circulation. PLUME is a combined land and ocean-bottom seismic experiment to image the mantle beneath the Hawaiian hotspot. Solomon is leading the land section of this project.
Solomon balances his position as director of the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism with research in planetary geology and geophysics, seismology, marine geophysics, and geodynamics. Prior to accepting his current position, he was a professor of geophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for more than 20 years. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a former president of the American Geophysical Union.
Maria T. Zuber, MESSENGER Science Team Member
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Maria T. Zuber is the E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she leads the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. Professor Zuber has been involved in more than half a dozen NASA planetary missions aimed at mapping the Moon, Mars, Mercury, and several asteroids. Professor Zuber received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and Sc.M. and Ph.D. from Brown University. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and American Philosophical Society, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and of the American Geophysical Union, where she served as president of the Planetary Sciences Section. Among her awards are the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the NASA Scientific Achievement Medal, the Brown University Horace Mann Medal, the Geological Society of America G.K. Gilbert Award, the American Astronautical Society Carl Sagan Memorial Award, and a Scientific Achievement Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Professor Zuber served on the Presidential Commission on the Implementation of United Space Exploration Policy tasked with conceiving a plan to implement President Bush’s Vision for Space Exploration. In 2002 Discover magazine named her one of the 50 most important women in science.
Robert G. Strom, MESSENGER Science Team Member
University of Arizona
Robert Strom is one of the founders of modern planetary geology and is an expert in surface morphology, particularly the effects of impact cratering. He has been studying Mercury since Mariner 10, and is the only person on the MESSENGER team to have also served on the first mission to Mercury, Mariner 10. As a member of the Science Team's Geology Group, he will lead the analysis of Mercury's geologic history and participate in the analysis of Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer spectral measurements of the surface.
Louise M. Prockter, Instrument Scientist for the Mercury Dual Imaging System
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
As Instrument Scientist for the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) onboard the MESSENGER spacecraft, Louise Prockter heads up a small team dedicated to ensuring that the images acquired at Mercury will enable fundamental science questions to be addressed. She has previous experience as an Imaging Team Associate on the Galileo and Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous missions, where she helped with sequencing, calibration and data analysis. Her scientific interests include the structural geology and geomorphology of planet, satellite, and small body surfaces.