November 3, 2011
NASA Announces New Advisory Council Chairman
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named Cornell University Astronomy Professor Steven W. Squyres, as chairman of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC), an assembly of experts from various fields that offer guidance and policy advice to the administrator of America's space agency.
"I am extremely excited that Steve has accepted the NAC chairmanship," Bolden said. "His experience as a planetary science researcher with many NASA robotic missions will be of great value to the council. The knowledge and experience of the council's members, such as Steve's, is a vital component of the group. They will be of tremendous value as we go forward, planning to go beyond low-Earth orbit."Dr. Squyres succeeds Dr. Kenneth Ford, the founder and director of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, who has served as council chairman since October 2008. Squyres previously served on the council during the 1990's, and he also served as chairman of the former NASA Space Science Advisory Committee.
In October 2011, Squyres participated as an aquanaut in a unique 5-day undersea expedition in the Florida Keys that simulated a future human mission to an asteroid, taking the first steps toward learning how to conduct asteroid exploration by humans. He was a member of the 15th NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) team of six researchers that lived and worked underwater in Aquarius, a school bus-sized laboratory sitting on the seabed near Key Largo, Fla., at a depth of 60 feet. NASA's goal is to send a human mission to an asteroid by 2025. The NEEMO expedition was originally planned for 13-day duration, but ended earlier than planned due to Hurricane Rina.
Squyres' scientific research focuses on the robotic exploration of planetary surfaces, the history of water on Mars, geophysics and tectonics of icy satellites, tectonics of Venus, and planetary gamma-ray and X-ray spectroscopy. His best known research includes the study of the history and distribution of water on Mars and of the possible existence and habitability of a liquid water ocean on Europa.
Squyres has participated in a number of NASA planetary missions including Voyager, Magellan, and the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous. He currently is the scientific principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rover mission, which includes the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. He also is a co-investigator on the Mars Express mission and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Squyres is a member of the Mars Odyssey mission and the Cassini mission to Saturn.
In 1981, Squyres earned a Ph.D. in planetary science from Cornell University.
For more information about the NASA Advisory Council, visit: http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/oer/nac