"It's such an exciting time in the field of astrobiology with discoveries happening at such a rapid pace in our Solar System, on exoplanets around other stars, and in the study of origin and evolution of life on our own planet" Grinspoon said. "We have several upcoming planetary missions to promising exploration targets. I'm honored to be given this chance to help guide and expand NASA's astrobiology research efforts."
"After intense consideration of an impressive pool of well-qualified candidates the divisions most closely associated with astrobiology, Astrophysics and Planetary Science Divisions, are thrilled to announce that Dr. David Grinspoon has been named to this position. Moving forward, Dr. Grinspoon's working job title will be Senior Scientist for Astrobiology Strategy (SSAS). He brings a compelling vision for growing interdisciplinary collaboration, for assuring integrity of astrobiology science on NASA flight missions, and for communicating the excitement of astrobiology inside and outside the Agency," Lori S. Glaze, Director NASA Planetary Science Division, said in an announcement.
"Dr. Grinspoon has participated in numerous NASA-related strategic planning and advisory roles, including serving for many years on the Solar System Exploration Subcommittee of the Solar System Advisory Committee for the Space Telescope Science Institute, on mission Science Definition Teams, and multiple Decadal Surveys. He is also currently serving on the Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Independent Study Team," Glaze said.
Grinspoon's research has focused on modeling the evolution of planetary atmospheres, climates and surfaces, with the goal of understanding how planets gain or lose habitability, the potential to support life. He has served on the science teams of several interplanetary spacecraft missions, most recently as a Co-Investigator on the team which proposed the DAVINCI mission, which NASA selected to launch to Venus in 2029.
In Grinspoon's writing he has explored the challenges of searching for other life in the universe when we have to base our all our expectations on the life on Earth, the only planet we know of (so far) with life. Grinspoon's book "Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life," won the PEN Center literary award for nonfiction. In 2013 Grinspoon served as the inaugural NASA Chair in Astrobiology at the United States Library of Congress where he wrote the book "Earth in Human Hands," about how an astrobiology perspective on humanity can help us respond to the challenges of the "Anthropocene" epoch, the human dominated era of Earth history, and how an examination of possible futures of human civilization can help us search for "technosignatures," the signs of other technological civilizations in the universe. Grinspoon currently serves on the NASA study team to examine unidentified anomalous phenomena (formerly referred to as UFOs).
In 2022 he was elected as a lifetime member of the American Association of the Advancement of Science "for distinguished scientific research in the field of comparative terrestrial atmospheres with a particular focus on Venus, and for prolific public science communication via books, articles, lectures, and other media." Grinspoon was awarded the 2006 Carl Sagan Medal for Public Communication of Planetary Science by the American Astronomical Society. His first book, Venus Revealed, was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist.
Grinspoon received the 1989 Gerard P. Kuiper Memorial Award at the University of Arizona, and 2018 he was awarded the Eugene Shoemaker Award by the Beyond Center at Arizona State University
Asteroid 22410 Grinspoon, a main-belt asteroid, is named after him.
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