Astrobiologist Dr. Richard Hoover of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., seen here in the Schirmacher Oasis ice cave in Antarctica in February 2009. Image credit: NASA/MSFCHUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Richard B. Hoover, Astrobiology Group Leader at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., is the 2009 recipient of the Gold Medal of SPIE, the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.
Former astronauts Jim Lovell, left, and Owen Garriott, right, joined Dr. Richard Hoover at the South Pole during an Antarctica research expedition in 2000. Image credit: NASA/Richard HooverThe award also reflects Hoover’s dedication and service to the optics field and to SPIE. An SPIE Fellow, Hoover is a past president of the Society and has served on numerous SPIE committees. He holds 11 U.S. patents and in 1992 was named NASA’s Inventor of the Year. He served on editorial boards of several scientific journals and the boards of directors of the American Association of Engineering Societies, and the Council of Scientific Society Presidents. He is the author or editor of 33 books and some 250 papers on astrobiology, extremophiles, diatoms, solar physics, X-ray/EUV optics and meteorites. He co-directed the NATO Advanced Study Institute on Astrobiology in Crete, for which he published the book "Perspectives in Astrobiology" in 2005.
Dr. Richard Hoover, right, joined Dr. Wernher von Braun on Dec. 16, 1972, to witness the launch of Apollo 17, the last of NASA’s Apollo-era missions to the moon. Image credit: NASASPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Gold Medal of the Society is the highest honor the Society bestows.