. 24/7 Space News .
Southwestern alumna becomes orbital debris scientist at NASA
by Staff Writers
Georgetown TX (SPX) Jan 09, 2017

Plenty more to come

Alumna uses computational modeling of "space trash" to keep astronauts, satellites, and the international space station safe.

Growing up in Pearland, Texas-just outside of Houston-was quite the treat for Southwestern alumna, Alyssa Pampell Manis '07. The mathematics lover (and major) has always admired NASA.

"NASA's right down the road, so it was always something in the back of my mind-that it would be a cool place to work," says Manis.

That idea in the back of her mind came to life in March of 2016. Manis is now an Orbital Debris Scientist at NASA working hard to protect astronauts, satellites, and the international space station from collisions through computational modeling and data analysis.

"Specifically I'm in the orbital degree program and modeling team, which means we look at computational models to predict what the future environment might look like in terms of how much debris there might be from standard launches and collisions (in space)," says Manis.

But she didn't get there overnight-it took a lot of hard work. After graduating from Southwestern, Manis became a high school math teacher in the Central Texas region. She soon realized it was graduate school that was calling her name. In fall 2008, she pursued a master's degree in computational and applied mathematics at Southern Methodist University, and then decided to further her education by earning her PhD there.

"Then I moved back to my hometown, got married, and started a post-doctorate at Texas A amd M University at Galveston doing tsunami modeling," says Manis.

Manis can easily recall when her passion for computational and applied mathematics struck her-it was during a prestigious, ten week National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) internship program in Boulder, Colorado while studying at Southwestern.

"That was one of my first experiences with the more applied research side of things, and I really enjoyed it," says Manis. "That is what initially sparked the move towards applied math and looking at how we can use math to answer questions and solve real-world problems."

Which is exactly what she is doing at NASA today. One major focus for her team is the international space station and characterizing that environment in order to keep the people working there safe.

"There's a lot of data analysis, such as looking at the current environment to get a better understanding of what it actually is that we're looking at up there," says Manis. "We have to rely on ground-based sensors, radars, telescopes, and some in-orbit sensors as well, but there's a lot of unknowns, so there's a lot of analyzing data."

Manis attributes much of her ability to problem solve to being exposed to a variety of disciplines at Southwestern.

"Thinking about things in different ways, I think that definitely helped in terms of having a broader sense of looking at the world," says Manis. "It's the kind of investigative nature of what I think Southwestern promotes and the entire environment of being free to ask questions and explore different avenues."

Manis says her position at NASA is rewarding, and often feels surreal. She hopes this opportunity turns into a long-term career at NASA-using her math skills to impact others and be a part of something bigger than herself.

Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Orbital Debris Office at NASA
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
China to improve space debris database, spacecraft protection
Beijing (XNA) Dec 28, 2016
China will enhance the space debris basic database and data-sharing model, and advance the development of space debris monitoring facilities, according to a white paper released on Tuesday. The white paper, titled "China's Space Activities in 2016," said China will improve the standardization system for space debris, near-earth objects and space climate in the next five years. "It wi ... read more

Emerging tech aims to improve life for handicapped

Hubble provides interstellar road map for Voyagers' galactic trek

NASA Assigns Upcoming Space Station Crew Members

Tech outlook dampened by political uncertainty

China's carrier rocket puts 3 satellites in space in first commercial mission

GMV invests in PLD Space

Arianespace to launch JCSAT-17 for SKY Perfect JSAT

Arianespace looks to the future with confidence

Hues in a Crater Slope

3-D images reveal features of Martian polar ice caps

Odyssey recovering from precautionary pause in activity

Small Troughs Growing on Mars May Become 'Spiders'

China Space Plan to Develop "Strength and Size"

Beijing's space program soars in 2016

China Plans to Launch 1st Mars Probe by 2020 - State Council Information Office

China to expand int'l cooperation on space sciences

OneWeb announces key funding from SoftBank Group and other investors

Airbus DS and Energia eye new medium-class satellite platform

Space as a Driver for Socio-Economic Sustainable Development

SoftBank delivers first $1 bn of Trump pledge, to space firm

Artisan 3D radar completes sea trials

Airbus supplying multi-mode radar for Coast Guard cutter

Patent Awarded to Design and 3D Print Rocket Fuel

Southwestern alumna becomes orbital debris scientist at NASA

Hubble detects 'exocomets' taking the plunge into a young star

Between a rock and a hard place: can garnet planets be habitable

The blob can learn and teach

Searching a sea of 'noise' to find exoplanets - using only data as a guide

Flying observatory makes observations of Jupiter previously only possible from space

York U research identifies icy ridges on Pluto

Exploring Pluto and the Wild Back Yonder

Juno Captures Jupiter 'Pearl'

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.