The 2,399th Meeting of the Society

November 2, 2018 at 8:00 PM

Powell Auditorium at the Cosmos Club

Venus – Earth’s Sister Planet

The Next Mission

James Garvin & Melissa Trainer

NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center
Garvin: Chief Scientist
Trainer: Associate Chief, Planetary Environments Laboratory

About the Speaker

James B. Garvin is the Chief Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and is co-chair for the Europa Lander Science Definition Team. He has been with NASA for 32 years and previously served three Presidents as NASA Chief Scientist. In addition to providing strategic analysis and advice to NASA’s senior leadership, Jim also served as chief scientist for Mars exploration, spearheading the development of a coherent exploration strategy and its realization in missions like the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Phoenix polar lander, and the Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity. Jim served as NASA’s Project Scientist for the Earth System Science Pathfinder program during the first five years of its existence during which GRACE and Calipso/Cloudsat were selected and implemented. In addition, he was the one science member of Sally Ride’s post-Challenger team, chaired the 1999-2001 NASA Decadal Planning Team for Human Exploration, and served as Program Scientist on the requirements definition team for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. He also served as a Co-Investigator on the Mars Observer, Mars Global Surveyor, NEAR-Shoemaker, Radarsat 1& 2, Mars Curiosity Rover, OSIRIS-REx, and ENVISAT missions.

Jim has an unusually wide range of scientific expertise and experience in Earth and Planetary Sciences. His scientific expertise includes, but is not limited to, the geomorphology of oceanic islands, the geology and geophysics of impact craters, and the geometric properties of sedimentary systems on Mars, Venus, and the Moon. He was a founder of Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) experiment and led the use of MOLA topographic data to investigate impact cratering on Mars. He served as chief scientist on the two flights of the Shuttle Laser Altimeter experiment that made the first measurements of tree heights from space. He is co-investigator on the Canadian Space Agency’s RADARSAT missions, and helped use images from this mission to document the 1996 outburst flood in Iceland, as well as landscape dynamics on newly-formed oceanic islands. He has participated in expeditions to a variety of terrestrial impact sites including the Zhamanshin impact crater in Kazakhstan, and he has led more than a dozen aircraft laser remote sensing campaigns in Iceland, Azores, Meteor Crater in Arizona, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier and islands in the Caribbean, among others. He recently led a team of scientists in utilizing the Hubble Space Telescope to explore the lunar surface at ultraviolet wavelengths in search of potential resources to support human exploration of the Moon.

Among many other awards, Jim is the recipient of two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals for work on the Mars Exploration Program, and two Presidential Rank Awards for his contributions to NASA science. He also received the William Rogers award given by Brown University for noteworthy contributions to science by alumni. In addition to his work with NASA, he serves on the Board of Advisors of the Institute for Environment and Society of Brown University.

Jim has published over 90 technical papers and popular articles on space exploration and Earth sciences. He has made numerous presentations to scientific and lay audiences, and he has appeared frequently on television speaking on space exploration, including appearances on “Late Night with David Letterman” and on the Discovery Channel’s “Alien Planet”.

Jim earned a BS from Brown University, an MS in Computer Sciences from Stanford University, an MS in Planetary Geology from Brown University, and a PhD in Geological Sciences, also from Brown.

Jim was “hooked on space at birth,” according to his family, and he has been collecting rocks and space-related information ever since. He looks forward to wandering the Icelandic wilderness someday searching for pieces of Mars on Earth.