SSERVI has announced the winners of the Michael J. Wargo Award, Susan Mahan Niebur award, and Eugene Shoemaker medal as a means of honoring outstanding achievement in exploration science. The winners were nominated by their academic peers and were selected by SSERVI Director Yvonne Pendleton. Awards will be presented at the Exploration Science Forum (ESF) on July 20th.

The 2016 Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal, named after American geologist and one of the founders of planetary science, Eugene Shoemaker, was awarded to Dr. James Head, Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences at Brown University, for his significant scientific contributions to the field of lunar science throughout the course of his scientific career. Professor Jim Head worked with the NASA Apollo program, in which he analyzed potential landing sites, studied returned lunar samples and data, and provided training for the Apollo astronauts. His current research centers on the study of the processes that form and modify the surfaces, crusts and lithospheres of planets, how these processes vary with time, and how such processes interact to produce the historical record preserved on the planets. He has served as an investigator with NASA and Russian Space Missions, such as the Soviet Venera 15/16 and Phobos missions, and the US Magellan (Venus), Galileo (Jupiter), Mars Surveyor, Russian Mars 1996, and Space Shuttle missions. The award includes a certificate and medal with the Shakespearian quote “And he will make the face of heaven so fine, that all the world will be in love with night.” The prize is presented with an invited lecture given at the ESF.

The Wargo Exploration Science Award is an annual award given to a scientist or engineer who has significantly contributed to the integration of exploration and planetary science throughout their career. This year the Wargo Award was given to Dr. Dana Hurley, a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). She has studied the atmospheres of airless bodies, the magnetic fields of non-magnetized planets, and the water cycles of desiccated moons, and helped to model processes acting to deliver water to cold traps on the Moon and Near Earth Objects– specifically the role of the solar wind as a source of water. Dr. Hurley has participated in the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission and Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission and is also a member of SSERVI’s DREAM2 team.

The Susan Mahan Niebur Early Career Award is an annual award given to an early career scientist who has made significant contributions to the science or exploration communities. This year the prize was given to Dr. Noah Petro, a Research Space Scientist at NASA GSFC in Greenbelt, MD. Dr. Petro was the Deputy project scientist for LRO and is a member of the RIS4E and FINESSE teams. He is also a member of the executive committee for the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group. Noah has shown excellence in his field and demonstrated meaningful contributions to the science and exploration communities.

“We look forward to future scientific discoveries from these individuals,” said Yvonne Pendleton, Director of SSERVI. “Their outstanding research efforts are vital to the ambitious activities of exploring the solar system with robots and humans we hope to achieve. Congratulations to James Head, Dana Hurley and Noah Petro for their achievements and contributions.”

The SSERVI awards are open to the entire research community, including team members and Principal Investigators; recipients need not reside in the U.S. nor be a U.S. citizen. Nominations are welcome at any time at:, but must be submitted by March 15 for consideration in that calendar year. Awards are presented at the annual Exploration Science Forum each summer.

More information on these awards and recipients, along with past awardees, can be found at:

Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff
Source: SSERVI

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