Florence Tan is the Chair of the Small Spacecraft Coordination Group (SSCG) at NASA Headquarters. She is also the Deputy Chief Technologist (DCT) for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD). In her role as SSCG Chair, she leads the SSCG to coordinate and develop NASA’s strategy and vision for small spacecraft in science, exploration missions, and technology activities and provide advice to the Associate Administrators of the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) and SMD. As the DCT for SMD, she supports the SMD Chief Technologist to survey and assess technology needs for NASA’s science. Previously, Florence worked at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) for 32 years as a lead electrical engineer, cognizant engineer, designer, integration and test engineer, manager, and operator for NASA spaceflight projects. She has designed, built and launched seven mass spectrometers to destinations including Mars, Saturn, Titan, and the Moon. Florence has received numerous awards including the NASA Medal for Exceptional Achievement, the Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement for Outreach, Goddard Division Excellence Award, multiple NASA Group Achievement Awards including the NASA Honor Award Silver Achievement Medal, Goddard Special Act Awards and Goddard Peer Awards. Florence has made it a personal goal to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, and she actively engages in outreach activities with students and the public to promote NASA science and technology advancements multiple times per year in the last 15 years. Florence holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Maryland, and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering and MBA in E-Commerce from Johns Hopkins University.
Vlada Stamenkovic is a Research Scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the Science Division and CIFAR Fellow. At JPL, he serves two roles: one as a scientist and one as a technology & mission developer.
As a scientist, he explores how planets & life co-evolve, with a focus on the hydrology and subsurface energetics that enable life—on the Earth, in our solar system, and beyond. As a technology & mission developer at JPL, he is leading the science mission concept development for Mars small spacecraft in the Mars Program and is the PI of the TH2OR instrument development. The latter is a tool that is uniquely capable to detect liquid water in the deep subsurface. For Mars, TH2OR aims to sound for liquid water possibly at depths of many kilometers and help answer the question of whether there could be still life on Mars. Beyond Mars, TH2OR can help detect ores for ISRU on the Moon and on asteroids, and could empower small communities on our own planet to find drinkable water sources—bridging space exploration to sustainability and the commercial sector. He is also founder of the New Mars Underground, a community of scientists and engineers dedicated to exploring the Martian subsurface for signs of life and resources.
Vlada has earned his MSc in Physics at the ETH in Zurich, whilst sending as PI two biophysical instruments to space—one on the Russian space satellite FOTON M-1 and one on the Cervantes mission to the ISS. He completed his PhD in Planetary Sciences with the German Aerospace Center, the University of Münster, and the European Space Agency in 2012. From there on, he crossed the Atlantic to work as a Swiss National Science Foundation Fellow at MIT exploring the habitability of exoplanets, moved as a Simons Collaboration on the Origin of Life Fellow to Caltech to work on Mars habitability and geobiology, and ultimately joined JPL in 2018—aiming to bring revolutionizing science with small spacecraft to Mars & beyond. @newmarsu