David Morrison is the senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., where he participates in a variety of research programs in astrobiology -- the study of the living universe.
Left: David Morrison (Click on the image for high resolution.)
Dr. Morrison obtained his doctorate in astronomy from Harvard University. He is the author of more than 155 technical papers and has published a dozen books. He has been a science investigator on NASA's Mariner, Voyager and Galileo space missions. Morrison is recipient of the Dryden Medal for research of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Sagan Medal of the American Astronomical Society for public communication, and the Klumpke-Roberts award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for contributions to science education. He has received two NASA Outstanding Leadership medals and he was awarded the Presidential Meritorious Rank for his work as director of space at NASA Ames. Morrison was a founder of the multidisciplinary field of astrobiology, and he provides on-line answers to questions from the public sent to "Ask an Astrobiologist," found at:
Morrison is perhaps best known for his leadership since 1991 in defining the hazard of asteroid impacts and seeking ways to mitigate this risk. Asteroid 2410 Morrison is named in his honor.
Interesting articles by Morrison:
Jan. 10, 2007
Liquid Water on Mars: Is it Still Flowing? --
The scientific strategy of NASA's Mars exploration can be summarized as "Follow the water." The habitability of Mars, past or present, is intimately tied to the presence of liquid water. Since the first orbiting spacecraft, Mariner 9, surveyed the planet in the early 1970s, we have known that the Mars polar caps are composed in part of ice, and we have seen large channels cut by water that flowed on the surface billions of years ago. Two of the most important recent discoveries on Mars were "gullies" that indicate much more recent surface flows. . .
Nov. 6, 2006
Earth's Hidden Biospheres –
Two recent discoveries in astrobiology challenge many of our assumptions about an integrated biological community on Earth. At the microbial level, it seems that there may be previously hidden biospheres that exist on Earth alongside our more familiar neighbors. One such community has been found deeply buried underground, while the other lives in the sea alongside more familiar life forms. . . .
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.