Science

Our Science Department serves the Astromaterials Research & Exploration Science (ARES) Division at the NASA Johnson Space Center. With more than 130 scientists, analysts, technicians and support personnel, we provide research and applied science expertise in an exciting array of services, including astromaterials curation, basic research and planetary science, planetary mission science support, human spaceflight image science and analysis, orbital debris modeling and analysis, hypervelocity impact testing and analysis, and science education and outreach.

Our personnel conduct screening and photogrammetry analysis of inspection imagery of the International Space Station (ISS) and commercial vehicles, train the ISS crew for acquiring images of the Earth, perform micrometeoroid and orbital debris impact inspections of the ISS, and conduct satellite re-entry risk assessments. They also curate all of the Apollo lunar samples, Antarctic meteorites, and cosmic dust samples for NASA. Scientists conduct basic research using state-of-the-art microscopy, spectroscopy, and spectrometry instruments to analyze lunar and meteoritic samples to better understand the formation of the solar system and the processes that shaped the planets, and they actively participate on the Mars robotic exploration teams.

We also provide technical services for the maintenance, operation, and logistics requirements for the ARES facilities, which include unique facilities and clean rooms that house the Apollo lunar samples and meteorites, returned interplanetary dust samples from the Stardust mission, and solar wind samples from the Genesis mission.