Dr. Sue Smrekar is a senior research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on the volcanism, tectonics and geodynamics of Venus and Mars. A particular focus on how Venus and Earth evolved to such different present day convective regimes and the links to surface geology and habitability. She is the PI for the VERITAS (Venus Emissivity Radio science InSAR And Spectroscopy) mission to Venus.
She received her PhD in Geophysics at Southern Methodist University. She did her postdoc at MIT before coming to JPL. In addition to conducting research, she has held leadship roles on numerous planetary missions, including Deep Space 2, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and InSight. She was elected to the International Academy of Astronautics in 2015, and received a NASA Exceptional Achievement Awards for Outstanding Public Leadership Medal in 2020, for Science in 2011 and for work on MRO in 2007. .
Daniel Scheeres is a University of Colorado Distinguished Professor and the A. Richard Seebass Chair in Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. Following a five year tenure at the Jet Propulsion Lab’s Navigation Systems Section and professorships at Iowa State University and the University of Michigan, Scheeres joined the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences in 2008. He has since become a vital member of the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research community, heading the Celestial and Spaceflight Mechanics Laboratory. Scheeres has graduated 37 PhD students in his career who now hold positions in academia, U.S. and international research labs, and industry, 18 of these while at CU.
Scheeres’ research spans the topics of astrodynamics and spacecraft navigation to planetary science and celestial mechanics and has published extensively in these fields. One primary focus of Scheeres’ research is studying the mechanics of small bodies (such as moons and asteroids) with applications to planetary and asteroid missions. A separate focus of Scheeres’ research is in the field of Space Situational Awareness, where his lab studies the dynamics and estimation of orbital debris and active satellites. Most recently, Scheeres is serving as the Radio Science Lead and Co-Investigator for NASA’s OSIRIS REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission.
Scheeres is a Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a Fellow in the American Astronautical Society, and president of the Celestial Mechanics Institute. He is a member of the American Astronomical Society’s Divisions on Planetary Science and Dynamical Astronomy, the International Astronomical Union and the International Astronautical Federation. He was awarded the Dirk Brouwer Award from the American Astronautical Society in 2013 and gave the John Breakwell Lecture at the 2011 International Astronautical Congress. Asteroid 8887 is named “Scheeres” in recognition of his contributions to the scientific understanding of the dynamical environment about asteroids. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2017.
Credit: University of Colorado Boulder
Anjani Polit is the Mission Implementation Systems Engineer for the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission and the Mission Implementation and Control Officer for the OSIRIS-APEX mission to explore asteroid Apophis. During OSIRIS-REx proximity operations around asteroid Bennu, she led the OSIRIS-REx Science Planning Team and was the Vice-Chair of the Sample Site Selection Board. For OSIRIS-APEX, Anjani manages spacecraft observation planning and oversees daily operations at the mission's Science Processing and Operations Center. She also provides management oversight for science team finances, scheduling, and resource allocation. Anjani has participated in proposal and operations development for a number of missions and previously served as the Program Manager for the University of Arizona Earth Dynamics Observatory. Before OSIRIS-REx, Anjani was the Uplink Operations Lead for the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.