MarsWeek 2004 Speaker Information

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

April 9th-11th

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(UPDATED 04/08/2004)

Harley Thronson

Dr. Harley Thronson is Director of Technology in the Office of Space Science (OSS) at NASA Headquarters. His responsibilities include selection and development of advanced technologies, which will significantly enhance future space science missions such as future large astronomical observatories and robotic missions to Mars and other planets. He also coordinates technology investment with other NASA Enterprises and agencies. His previous duties at NASA have included serving as the Acting Science Program Director for the Astronomical Search for Origins and Planetary Systems. He has also served as the senior scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF), the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), and a number of other missions.

Dr. Thronson arrived at NASA Headquarters in 1996, after several years as a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Wyoming, where his research areas included star formation, the structure of galaxies, and future space observatories.

Dr. Thronson obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1978 and has held research positions at the University of Arizona and the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. He has published more than 100 research papers, edited 11 books, and has chaired several international science conferences. He has been awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and has led several teams that have won NASA Group Achievement Awards.

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Peter Diamandis

Dr. Peter H. Diamandis is a pioneer and leader in the commercial space arena. Dr. Diamandis is the Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, offering a $10,000,000 prize for private spaceflight. He is also the CEO of Zero Gravity Corporation, a commercial space company about to launch FAA-certified parabolic flight using a Boeing 727 aircraft.

Peter is a Founder and Trustee of the International Space University (ISU) where he served as the University's first Managing Director. He is also co-Founder of Space Adventures, the company that brokered Dennis Tito and Mark Shuttleworth's flights to the International Space Station.

He is a graduate of MIT and Harvard Medical School and the winner of the Konstantine Tsiolkovsky Award, the Aviation & Space Technology Laurel, and the 2003 World Technology Award for Space.

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Grace Tan-Wang

Dr. Grace Tan-Wang graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Aeronautics & Astronautics, and from the University of Southern California with an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering. She started at JPL as a system engineer on the development of the Cassini project, a mission to Saturn that launched in 1997 and will arrive at Saturn this summer.

In the nearly 18 years since her arrival at JPL, Grace has worked in a variety of space exploration projects, from the conceptual stage to flight operations, not only as a system engineer, but also as a guidance and control engineer, a mission engineer, and an element manager. On the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers Project, Grace has been a key member of the project during both development and operations, and is currently the Deputy Sequencing Team Chief.

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Tim Glover

Dr. Tim Glover graduated from Rice University with a Ph.D. in Applied Physics, after earning a master's degree in Physics from the University of Pittsburgh, and a master's in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He has been part of the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) experiment team at the Johnson Space Center's Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory since 1996, shortly after the Laboratory was established by its Director, Astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz.

Dr. Glover's past research experience has included orbit dynamics, astrophysical spectroscopy, a microgravity experiment, and the magnetoplasmadynamic thruster. His current work focuses on plasma diagnostics to characterize the VASIMR prototype's performance.

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Andrew Kadak

Dr. Andrew C. Kadak is a Professor of the Practice in the MIT Department of Nuclear Engineering. Dr. Kadak was the faculty advisor to the MIT Mars Nuclear Power Team convened jointly between the MIT Nuclear Engineering and Aeronautics & Astronautics Departments in the Spring of 2003. The team performed an extensive design study of requirements for nuclear power systems to support round-trip human missions to Mars, and provided recommendations for future development in this area.

Dr. Kadak has spent his entire career in the nuclear energy field. He graduated from Union College in 1967 and received his masters and doctorate degrees in Nuclear Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also received a masters degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University in 1983. He was formerly the President and CEO of Yankee Atomic Electric Company.

Dr. Kadak's current interests, in addition to nuclear space power, are the development of innovative new nuclear power plants such as the pebble bed reactor and improved management systems for existing and future nuclear power stations.

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Olivier de Weck

Dr. Olivier L. de Weck is an Assistant Professor of Aeronautics & Astronautics and Engineering Systems and the Robert N. Noyce Career Development Professor at MIT. He is currently an instructor for the graduate course entitled "Extensible Architectures for Space Transportation" offered jointly between the MIT Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics and the MIT Engineering Systems Division. These students and faculty are working directly with the NASA Office of the Space Architect to develop common, extensible architectures for space exploration starting from special-purpose, disjointed mission objectives, drawing upon MIT's cutting-edge research in systems architecting and multidisciplinary design optimization.

Dr. de Weck earned a masters degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT in 1999. From 1987 to 1993 he attended the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) in Switzerland, where he earned a Diplom Ingenieur degree (MS equivalent) in industrial engineering. From 1993 to 1997 he served as liaison engineer and later as engineering program manager for the Swiss F/A-18 program at McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) in St. Louis, MO.

Dr. de Weck is a recipient of the 1998 Carroll L. Wilson award, the 1997 Pellegrini-Medicus Fellowship. He was a 1996 Swiss-U.S. Fulbright Scholarship finalist, and a co-valedictorian in Industrial Engineering (with honors) from ETH Zurich in 1993.

Dr. de Weck is fluent in five languages and has published 20 articles at conferences and in journals. He is a member of AIAA, SPIE, IEEE, IASTED and the Sigma Xi research society. Since 2002 he has been a member of the AIAA Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) Technical Committee (TC).

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Christopher Carr

Christopher E. Carr is a doctoral student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology, and a research assistant in the Man-Vehicle Laboratory, part of MIT's Center for Space Research. His current research is focused on space suit energetics, future space suit development, and information management in space suits.

Mr. Carr graduated from MIT in 1999 with degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Electrical Science and Engineering, and spent the following two summers working on a study for a Mars Sample Return mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He returned to MIT in the fall of 1999 to continue working with the MIT Man-Vehicle Laboratory as a graduate student in the Medical Engineering and Medical Physics program in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He has been focused on his dissertation work since completion of a M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2001 on "Distributed Architectures for Mars Surface Exploration."

Mr. Carr is a recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (1999-2002).

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Douglas Jerolmack

Douglas J. Jerolmack is a doctoral student in the Geophysics division of the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. His present research focuses on patterns emerging at sediment-fluid interfaces in river and marine systems, using empirically based modeling of bedform dynamics. He currently works with MIT Professor Maria Zuber to interpret sedimentary features on Mars that may indicate past flow conditions on the planet.

Mr. Jerolmack graduated from Drexel University in 2001 (Environmental Engineering) where he worked as Lead Research Assistant in the School of Environmental Science, Engineering, and Policy. Following graduation, he worked as a pre-doctoral fellow at Northwestern University before coming to MIT in the fall of 2002. He now works with Professor David Mohrig of EAPS in the study of self-organizing stream beds that may offer insight for more general modeling of ripples and dunes.

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Lockheed-Martin Civil Space MIT Large Event Fund

© 2004 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT reserves the right to alter schedule, fees, and other associated aspects of MarsWeek.
MarsWeek is co-sponsored by the MIT Mars Society and the Mars Gravity Biosatellite Program.
MarsWeek 2004 is supported by Lockheed-Martin Civil Space and the MIT Large Event Fund.