Who's Who at NASA

Dr. Catherine A. Conley, Planetary Protection Officer, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC

As NASA plans launches to Mars, Europa, and beyond, the agency's Office of Planetary Protection ensures that the environments are shielded against contamination, especially bacteria and microbes from Earth. Dr. Catherine Conley oversees and audits the planetary protection strategies for NASA’s exploration missions.

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Dr. Santo A. Padula, Materials Research Engineer, Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH

Dr. Santo Padula has developed testing techniques to support the development of advanced materials like metallic foams and shape memory alloys (SMAs). SMAs are metals that “remember” their original shape. With the application of heat, a deformed SMA returns to its initial form.

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Al Bowers, Chief Scientist, Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA

Al Bowers is the program manager of Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Lower Drag, or Prandtl-d. The project’s researchers validated elements of a boomerang-shaped wing design that could greatly improve the efficiency of future aircraft.

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Amy Keith, Environmental Engineer, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL

Environmental engineer Amy Keith and her team developed a low-cost detector of contaminants in plants and surrounding groundwater. The non-destructive technology scans the surface of a leaf for spectral signatures. NASA currently seeks a development partner for the hyperspectral estimator.

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Kenneth O’Connor, Coatings Engineer, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

Kenneth O’Connor has worked with NASA Goddard engineers to develop a nanotextured coating with hydrophobic properties. The technology minimizes dust, liquid, and ice accumulation on its surface, similar to a leaf on the lotus plant. See below for details on a live webinar this month.

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Walt Bruce, Convective Heating for Improvement for Emergency Fire Shelters (CHIEFS) Senior Engineer and Anthony Calomino, Materials and Structures Engineer

After a 2013 wildfire led to the loss of 19 elite Arizona firefighters, Langley Research Center engineers, including Walt Bruce and Anthony Calomino, worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service to see how NASA’s spacecraft thermal protection system could be used to create new emergency fire shelters on Earth.

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Kimberly Hambuchen, Deputy Project Manager, Human Robotics System Project, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX

Kim Hambuchen is currently building user interfaces for Vakyrie, a six-foot-two, 286-pound humanoid robot. The two-legged Valkyrie builds on NASA’s Robonaut, a robotic assistant currently onboard the International Space Station.

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