Key Note Speakers
June 17, 2021
Dr. Robert D. Braun
Director for Planetary Science, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Bren Professor of Aerospace, California Institute of Technology
Mars Sample Return
Bobby Braun joined the JPL leadership team as Director for Planetary Science in 2020. He began service as a Professor of Aerospace at Caltech this same year. At JPL, Dr. Braun has leadership and management responsibility for the portfolio of
planetary science formulation, technology, implementation and operations activities at the Lab.
Dr. Braun has more than 30 years’ experience as a space systems engineer, technologist, and organizational leader. He is a recognized authority in the development of entry, descent and landing systems, and has contributed to the formulation, development, and operation of multiple space flight missions.
Previously, Dr. Braun served as Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, a faculty member of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a member of the technical staff of the NASA Langley Research Center. Working with his students, Dr. Braun has led research into a broad range of space technology concepts that have been infused into spaceflight missions for NASA, the USAF and the aerospace industry.
In 2010-2011, Dr. Braun served as the first NASA Chief Technologist in more than a decade. In this capacity, he was responsible for development of the Agency’s technology and innovation policy and programs, and led the implementation of a broad spectrum of NASA technology programs designed to build the capabilities required for our nation’s future space missions. This activity spanned industry, academia, and all 10 NASA Centers, and fostered partnerships between NASA and other government agencies.
Dr. Braun is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the AIAA and AAS, and the author or co-author of over 300 technical publications. He received a Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University, an M.S. in astronautics from the George Washington University, and a B.S. in aerospace engineering from the Pennsylvania State University.
June 17, 2021
Ph.D, Professor / Hayabusa2 Project Manager Department of Space Flight Systems Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) / Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency(JAXA)
Hayabusa 2 Mission
Yuichi Tsuda received his Ph.D. degree in aeronautics and astronautics from University of Tokyo in 2003, and joined Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency(JAXA) in 2003 as a research associate. He became an associate professor in 2014, and a professor in 2020 of ISAS/JAXA. He was a visiting scholar of Dept. of Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan and Dept. of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder in 2008- 2009. He was the deputy lead of the IKAROS, the world’s first interplanetary solar sail technology demonstration mission in 2009-2013.
Since 2015, he has been the project manager of Hayabusa2, the asteroid sample-return mission. Hayabusa2 successfully landed twice for sample collection, deployed four mobile rovers, and generated a large artificial crater on the surface of asteroid Ryugu, and then returned to Earth in December 2020 under his leadership. His research interests are astrodynamics, spacecraft system and deep space exploration.
July 8, 2021
Dr. Lori S. Glaze
Director of the Planetary Science Division
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Exploring the Solar System with NASA’s Planetary Science Division
Dr Lori Glaze, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division (PSD), will discuss many highlights from the Division’s current, and future, fleet of missions, including many requiring atmospheric entry at Earth or other bodies. The Mars2020 Perseverance Rover safely landed in February 2021 and is now well on its way to exploring Jezero Crater for signs of ancient microbial life. Perseverance is the first step in the ambitious Mars Sample Return mission, for which NASA is proudly partnering with the European Space Agency. OSIRIS-REx has now completed its exploration of asteroid Bennu and is making its way back to Earth to deliver its precious cargo of samples in September 2023. 2021 is proving to be an extremely busy year for PSD: we will also see the launch of Lucy, a mission to flyby several Trojan asteroids, and DART, the first planetary defense mission that will test the kinetic impactor technique to change the motion of an asteroid in space, as well as the selection of the next Discovery-class mission (from a short list of four that would explore Venus, Triton, or Io) and the return to robotic landings on the Moon through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. In addition, to Mars Sample Return, NASA is excited to be working with International partners on a variety of missions to destinations throughout the solar system, including BepiColombo (Mercury), JUICE (Jupiter), and MMX (the Martian moons).
Dr. Lori Glaze is the Director of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate’s Planetary Science Division. Planetary Science is focused on space flight missions and scientific research that address fundamental questions of solar system formation and evolution, including understanding planetary environments that can (or could have in the past) support life.
Prior to headquarters, Dr. Glaze served as the chief of the Planetary Geology, Geophysics and Geochemistry Laboratory at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and as the Deputy Director of Goddard’s Solar System Exploration Division. Her research interests include physical processes in terrestrial and planetary volcanology, atmospheric transport and diffusion processes, and geologic mass movements. Her work focused on data analysis and theoretical modeling of surface processes on all the terrestrial solar system bodies, particularly the Earth, Venus, Mars, Moon, and Io.
Dr. Glaze was a member of the Inner Planets Panel during the 2013 Planetary Science Decadal Survey, and had a role on the Executive Committee of NASA’s Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG) for several years, serving as the group’s Chair from 2013–2017. Dr. Glaze was a member of the Planetary Science Subcommittee from 2011 to 2013.
She has been involved with many NASA-sponsored Venus mission concept formulation studies, including as a member of the Venus Flagship Science and Technology Definition Team (2009), as Science Champion for the Venus Mobile Explorer (2010), and Co-Science Champion for the Venus Intrepid Tessera Lander (2010). Until her move to headquarters, she also was the Principal Investigator of the Deep Atmosphere Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and
Dr. Glaze was born in Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas, Arlington with a BA and MS in Physics. She received a PhD in Environmental Science from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. She has also previously worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and at Proxemy Research as Vice President and Senior Research Scientist.
July 8, 2021
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
California Institute of Technology
The Mars 2020 Entry, Descent, and Landing
On February 18, 2021, the world watched as the Perseverance rover safely completed its autonomous landing in Jezero Crater. The largest, heaviest, and most complex planetary rover ever built depended on its seven-minute entry, descent, and landing (EDL) sequence to touch down safely at the most dangerous landing site ever attempted on Mars. Building upon the success of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, the Mars 2020 EDL system preserved as much of the MSL EDL architecture as possible while simultaneously fixing identified issues, adding mission enabling new EDL capabilities, and accommodating new mission enhancing payloads. Reconstruction results to date have shown that the Mars 2020 EDL system performed largely as expected. Issues identified since the MSL landing were successfully addressed during the Mars 2020 landing. The mission’s two new landing capabilities, range trigger and terrain relative navigation, proved critical in identifying and reaching a safe landing target within Jezero Crater. Finally, new EDL instrumentation and a new EDL camera suite gave the team greater insight into the landing performance and brought the world along for the ride.
Al Chen was the Entry, Descent, and Landing Phase Lead for the Mars 2020 mission. Prior to that, he was the Flight Dynamics and Operations Lead for Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and Landing team culminating in the successful landing of the Curiosity rover in 2012, though he is perhaps best known as the narrator of the briefly popular, free Xbox Kinect game “Mars Rover Landing.” Al is a Principal Engineer in the Entry, Descent, and Landing Systems and Advanced Technologies Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Al holds S.B. and S.M. degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a M.B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.
July 27, 2021
Dr Athena Coustenis
Director of Research
French Center for Scientific Research at Paris Observatory
Athena Coustenis is Director of Research with the French Center for Scientific Research at Paris Observatory, specializing in Astrophysics and Planetology. She contributes to the development of space missions and analyzes the acquired data to investigate the atmospheres and surfaces of planets, satellites and exoplanets (examples are the Cassini-Huygens mission and the upcoming JUICE and ARIEL missions). She has more extensively studied the large Saturnian moon, Titan. She is currently the Chair of the European Space Agency’s Human Exploration and Science Advisory Committee (ESA-HESAC), of the COSPAR Panel on Planetary Protection and of the Science evaluation committee of the French National Center for Space Studies (CNES-CERES) and member of several other international advisory bodies. Her production record includes about 230 scientific articles, several books or chapters and 600 presentations.
Exploring Titan’s complex world: from Cassini-Huygens to TSSM to Dragonfly
Already during the highly successful Cassini-Huygens mission (2004-2017), to which I participated since its inception by contributing in the 90s my scarce but rare knowledge acquired during a PhD on the V1/IRIS data, future exploration of Titan was still a high priority for the solar system exploration community as recommended by several Decadal Surveys and ESA’s Cosmic Vision Program themes. The Cassini-Huygens discoveries continue to emphasize that Titan is a complex world with many Earth-like features. Titan has a dense, nitrogen atmosphere, an active climate and meteorological cycles where conditions are such that the working fluid, methane, plays the role that water does on Earth. Titan's surface, with lakes and seas, broad river valleys, sand dunes and mountains, was formed by processes like those that have shaped the Earth. Supporting this panoply of Earth-like processes is an ice crust that floats atop what might be a liquid water ocean. Furthermore, Titan is rich in very many different organic compounds—more so than any place in the solar system, except Earth. Energy sources manifested via signs of cryovolcanism help check many boxes of habitability requirements.
The Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM) concept that followed the 2007 TandEM ESA CV proposal and the 2007 Titan Explorer NASA Flagship study, was studied by NASA and ESA jointly in February 2009. The TSSM study, like others before it, again concluded that an orbiter, a hot-air balloon and a surface package are highly relevant in situ elements for a future mission to Titan. TSSM consists of an Orbiter that would carry two in situ elements: the Titan Montgolfiere hot-air balloon and the Titan Lake Lander. The mission would arrive at Saturn around after an 8-year trip for a ~4-year mission. Soon after arrival at Saturn, the Montgolfiere would be delivered and deployed in Titan’s atmosphere for a mission of airborne, scientific observations of Titan from an altitude of about 10 km. The montgolfiere would have a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) power system designed for a 6-12 month mission in Titan’s atmosphere. With the predicted winds and weather, that would be sufficient to circumnavigate the globe at least once.
Besides other measurements, valuable information on the troposphere of Titan would be gathered by the balloon. The Lake Lander was designed to descend through the atmosphere, making measurements of the atmospheric properties, much like Huygens did, and then land and float on one of Titan’s seas. After delivery of the in situ elements, the TSSM Orbiter would explore the Saturn system via a ~2-year tour that includes in situ sampling of Enceladus’ plumes as well as Titan flybys. After the Saturn system tour, the TSSM Orbiter would enter orbit around Titan and begin a global survey phase. Synergistic and coordinated observations would be carried out between the TSSM Orbiter and the in situ elements.
In conjunction with this extensive mission, other concepts were proposed and studied by different space agencies (JET, TiME, E3T, AVIATR, etc) that put forward original and revolutionary concepts, finishing with the successful selection of the Dragonfly concept in 2019 which will launch in 2027. Clearly the exploration of icy moons in the outer solar is of high relevance for our understanding of “water worlds”. Along with the JUICE and Europa Clipper Missions to the jovian system, the investigation of Titan and Enceladus and other kronian moons remains an exciting and challenging perspective for the planetary community.
July 20, 2021
Michelle M. Munk
EDL System Capability Lead
NASA Langley Research Center
Ms. Michelle Munk has served as NASA’s Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) Systems Capability Leader (SCL) since May 2017, and the Principal Technologist for EDL technologies within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) since 2013. On detail to NASA Headquarters in these roles, Ms. Munk is responsible for ensuring sustainment of NASA’s EDL skills, facilities, and tools, as well as guiding STMD’s technical content in EDL. Portfolio investments include inflatable decelerator, heatshield, precision landing, ground and flight tests, plume surface interaction, modeling, and aeroshell instrumentation efforts. Ms. Munk’s duties include advocating for new investments to close technology gaps and coordinating closely across all STMD programs and technology readiness levels, including commercial and academic activities, as well as with robotic and human exploration planning, formulation, and review efforts.
Ms. Munk has over 30 years of experience in orbital mechanics, trajectory simulation, flight hardware development, and technology management from four different NASA centers. She is currently the Principal Investigator for two Stereo Cameras for Lunar Plume Surface Studies (SCALPSS) payloads. Her past work includes nine years as the Lead Engineer and Project Manager for the In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) Aerocapture project, and Deputy Project Manager and subsystem lead for the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation (MEDLI) flight payload.
Ms. Munk holds a B. S. in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Tech, and she started her career as a cooperative education student at the Johnson Space Center. She is an AIAA Associate Fellow and has several publications and NASA group and individual achievement awards, including the Space Flight Awareness Award, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and the 2020 Alvin Seiff Award.
August 10, 2021
Prof. Günther Hasinger
ESA Director of Science (D/SCI)
Head of ESAC, near Madrid, Spain
ESA, Cosmic Vision, and Voyage 2050
Günther Hasinger was born in Oberammergau, Germany, in 1954. He received his physics diploma from Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich, and in 1984, he earned a PhD in astronomy from LMU for research done at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE).
After visiting lectureships in the USA, he returned to Germany to take a position at the University of Potsdam. He served as director of the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam from 1994 to 2001. In 2001, he was appointed as a scientific member of the Max Planck Society, and as the director of the High Energy Group at MPE.
In 2007, he spent four months at the Institute for Astronomy (IfA) at the University of Hawaii while on sabbatical, and in 2008 he became scientific director at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP), the position he relinquished to become the Director of the IfA.
Günther Hasinger has received numerous awards for his research and scientific achievements, including the Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the most significant research prize in Germany, and the international Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Award for his outstanding contributions to space science. He is a member of the Academia Europea, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, and Leopoldina (the German National Academy of Sciences), and an external member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
Günther Hasinger has also played a key role in the operation of X-ray satellites and the development of future observatories. When the attitude control system of ROSAT, a joint German/UK/US X-ray and ultraviolet satellite, failed soon after launch in 1990, Prof. Hasinger was instrumental in developing a new control system that enabled the satellite to continue its mission.
He has also held several important national and international responsibilities, such as the chair of the Council of German Observatories and the president of the International Astronomical Union Division on Space and High Energy Astrophysics. He played a significant role in improving the financial constraints of basic space research in Germany and Europe.
In addition to writing numerous scientific papers, Günther Hasinger is the author of an award-winning book, Schicksal des Universums, which explains astrophysics and cosmology to a wider audience (with an extended English version called Astronomy’s Limitless Journey: A Guide to Understanding the Universe), and the winner of the Wilhelm Foerster Prize for public dissemination of science in 2011.