Who We Are
Marilyn Lindstrom, MESSENGER Program Scientist
NASA Headquarters, Washington
MESSENGER's Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters is Dr. Marilyn Lindstrom. She is the liaison between the MESSENGER principal investigator and the science team and NASA program management on science matters. She is responsible for overseeing science planning, implementation, analysis and data archiving, but also for facilitating MESSENGER science. Dr. Lindstrom is also program scientist for the Mars Fundamental Research program, Astromaterials Curation and Planetary EPO. She previously managed the Planetary Instrument Definition and Development and Mars Data Analysis Programs. Prior to coming to Headquarters she was curator of Antarctic meteorites at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, and a research scientist studying rocks from the Earth, Moon and Mars. She is particularly interested in comparative planetology of the terrestrial planets and is delighted to have a role in studying Mercury, the least known of these bodies.
Contact Information: 202.358.1254
Sean Solomon, MESSENGER Principal Investigator
Carnegie Institution of Washington, 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.
Prior to this January, 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.
Contact Information: 202.478.8850
James W. Head III, MESSENGER Co-Investigator
Louis and Elizabeth Scherck Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
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 program, during which he analyzed potential landing sites, studied returned lunar samples and data, and provided training for the Apollo astronauts. His current research centers on the study of the processes that form and modify the surfaces, crusts and lithospheres of planets, how these processes vary with time, and how such processes interact to produce the historical record preserved on the planets. 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 two field seasons in the Antarctic Dry Valleys. Since 1984, Dr. Head convenes the Vernadsky Institute/Brown University microsymposia, held twice yearly in Moscow and Houston. He has served as an investigator with NASA and Russian Space Missions, such as the Soviet Venera 15/16 and Phobos missions, and the US Magellan (Venus), Galileo (Jupiter), Mars Surveyor, Russian Mars 1996, and Space Shuttle missions. In addition to serving as a co-investigator for the NASA MESSENGER mission to Mercury, he also serves in that role for the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3 mission), as well as the European Space Agency's Mars Express Mission.
Contact Information: 401.863.2526
William McClintock, MESSENGER Co-Investigator
Senior Research Associate, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder
William McClintock is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Colorado, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). He obtained both a BA in Physics and a PhD in Physics from the Johns Hopkins University. Bill joined LASP in 1977 to develop rocket experiments for observing interstellar matter. He serves as the Instrument Scientist for the Solar Stellar Comparison Experiment (SOLSTICE) on the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) spacecraft. In addition to his SORCE activities, Bill is a Co-Investigator on a number of NASA planetary programs including the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer Experiment on the Cassini Mission to Saturn and the MESSENGER mission. He is also the Principal Investigator for the Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS) aboard MESSENGER. Bill's research interests include the precise measurement of solar and stellar ultraviolet irradiance and ultraviolet observations of planetary atmospheres and exospheres.
Contact Information: 303.492.8407
Thomas H. Zurbuchen, MESSENGER Science Team Member
Professor, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Thomas Zurbuchen is a professor of Space Science and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan College of Engineering. He has been at the University of Michigan for over 10 years. Zurbuchen, who holds a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Bern, Switzerland, was a recipient of a Swiss National Science Foundation award before coming to the University of Michigan. He has received numerous awards, including the prestigious U.S. Presidential Early Career Award, which represents the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. Zurbuchen, a specialist in the robotic exploration of space, served as team leader for the development of NASA's Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer, an instrument that is aboard the MESSENGER spacecraft which made it's first Mercury flyby in January 14, 2008. He is also part of several committees several committees of NASA and the National Academy of Sciences.
Contact Information: 734.763.1021
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