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Meet the NEEMO 15 Support Team
10.03.11
 
Paul Abell

Paul Abell

Paul Abell is the Lead Scientist for Planetary Small Bodies assigned to the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Directorate at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas. The ARES Directorate performs physical science research at JSC and provides support to NASA HQ's Science Mission Directorate related activities and interests. In addition to its research focus on Earth, planetary, and space sciences, ARES has the curatorial responsibility for all NASA-held extraterrestrial samples. ARES scientists and engineers also provide support to NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate spaceflight programs with expertise in orbital debris modeling, image analysis, remote sensing, sample collection, and crew training.

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Paul received his B.A. in Astronomy/Physics from Colgate University, a M.S. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Ph.D. in Geology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His main areas of interest are physical characterization of near-Earth objects (NEOs) via ground-based and spacecraft observations, examination of NEOs for future robotic and human exploration, and identification of potential resources within the NEO population for future resource utilization.

Paul has been studying potentially hazardous asteroids and near-Earth objects for over 15 years and is a visiting astronomer at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility at Mauna Kea Observatory, Hawai'i. Paul was a telemetry officer for NASA's Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous spacecraft and was a science team member on the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Hayabusa near-Earth asteroid sample return mission. In 2010, Paul travelled to the Australian Outback as a member of the Hayabusa Sample Return Capsule Recovery Team and participated in the successful recovery of the spacecraft's sample return capsule.

Since 2006 Paul has been a member of an internal NASA team that is examining the possibility of sending astronauts to NEOs for long duration human missions circa 2025 and is currently the lead committee member of the Small Bodies Assessment Group chartered with identifying Human Exploration Opportunities for NEOs. In 2009, he became a science team member of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Solar System Collaboration tasked with identifying NEOs for future robotic and human space missions, and is also the Science Lead for NEO analog activities and operations of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO).

Paul, his wife Amy Sisson, and their feline companions have called Houston, Texas home since December 2003.

Dr. Andrew Abercromby

Dr. Andrew Abercromby

Dr. Andrew Abercromby is a biomedical engineer and deputy project manager for the Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV) project, which is designing and testing a new type of human space exploration vehicle. He is also a member of the Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Physiology, Systems and Performance project, whose goal is to help develop new spacesuits that will be safer, more efficient, and easier to use.

At Desert RATS, Andrew is responsible for ensuring that all of the experimental procedures are followed and that all of the data is collected. He also makes the best coffee.

Originally from Scotland, Andrew has been hooked on human space exploration ever since he first visited Johnson Space Center at age 17. Andrew has previously worked in NASA's Neurosciences Laboratory, Anthropometry and Biomechanics Facility, and Flight Mechanics Laboratory and has participated in NASA analog studies in the cold arctic, the hot desert, and beneath the very wet Atlantic Ocean.


Mary Sue Bell

Mary Sue Bell

Dr. Mary Sue Bell is a member of the DRATS Science Team and a back-up crew member for DRATS 2011. She is a geologist working in the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Office (ARES) at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas -- where all of NASA's extraterrestrial samples (rocks from the moon, meteorites, particles from the sun and comets) are curated. Dr. Bell also supports the Geolab test-bed in the Habitat Demonstration Unit at DRATS where sample handling protocols for curation of materials returned from future NASA missions are tested.

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Mary Sue earned her Ph.D. from The University of Houston studying Martian meteorites and terrestrial meteorite impacts including the impact on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico that is believed to have caused the great dinosaur extinction. Dr. Bell has supported and managed several projects associated with NASA's sample return missions including Mars Returned Sample Handling, Genesis Solar Wind particles, and Stardust Cometary samples. She supports NASA's analog programs in the Norwegian Arctic, the Antarctic, undersea at NOAA's Aquarius habitat, and the Arizona Black Point Lava Flow for DRATS by testing scenarios that simulate the kinds of geologic activities astronauts would conduct on other planetary surfaces. These activities support NASA's plans for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.

Allyson Brady

Allyson Brady
Science Team/Traverse Planning Support

Allyson is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary studying microbial diversity and carbon cycling in extreme environments. She has been a member of the PLRP since 2005 and will be the acting PI this summer while Darlene Lim is on leave. Allyson completed her PhD at McMaster University in isotope geochemistry under the guidance of Greg Slater where her research focused on applying isotopic analytical techniques to investigate the role of biology in carbonate precipitation and the identification of associated microbial isotope biosignatures.

Her research interests continue to focus on microbes in extreme environments, microbial carbon cycling, influences on carbonate precipitation and the potential for the formation of isotopic biosignatures that may be preserved in the geologic record.


Jesse Buffington

Jesse Buffington

Jesse Buffington is a Johnson Space Center Civil Servant Project Manager in the Tools & Equipment Branch (EC7) of NASA JSC's Engineering Directorate, Crew and Thermal Systems Division. With an academic background of Mechanical Engineering and Physics, his involvement with the space sciences began through space environment simulation and hardware testing for NASA Discovery Class mission proposals. This background led to participation in the Johnson Space Center's Co-Op program in the fall of 2005 until he completed his undergraduate engineering degree in 2007.

He began his full time career at JSC certifying EVA Flight Hardware for the Space Shuttle Program as part of the Orbiter Thermal Protection System Repair (TPS Repair) efforts created after the Columbia accident. Concurrently with this effort, he began the "Advanced Tools" Project in EC7, seeking to identify and develop capabilities necessary to enable mission objectives for destinations beyond Low Earth Orbit. This project has included matrix work as the Integrated Product Team (IPT) lead and eventual Control Account Manager (CAM) for the Tools Element of the Constellation EVA Project Office (XX).

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Jesse has also led other development projects, including the MAKER project (in situ manufacturing) and EVA Geology and Planetary Surface hardware development, with emphasis on remote analog field testing of hardware concepts. Most recently he has managed a flight project for the EVA Project Office, completing the design, manufacture, testing and certification of a new EVA Tool named "COLT" which is required for return of an ISS Ammonia Pump Module on the last Space Shuttle Mission (STS-135).

Continuing his emphasis on exploration related hardware development Jesse is also preparing for 2011 field tests with the Desert Research and Technology Studies (D-RATs) analog and the NASA Extreme Environments Mission Operations (NEEMO) submerged facility. Away from work, he spends time with his wife Shelly and their two Shetland Sheepdogs as well as managing and operating a privately owned machine shop that he founded in 2008.

Steve Chappell

Steve Chappell
Deputy Mission Manager

Dr. Steve Chappell attended the University of Michigan and earned a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering Sciences. Steve also earned masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Colorado, studying human performance in simulated reduced gravity. Steve currently works for Wyle Integrated Science & Engineering at NASA JSC. He is helping to define and execute the research needed to optimize human performance in the next-generation human space exploration systems, including leading and taking part in studies in different exploration analog environments as a member of the Exploration Analogs and Mission Development team. He was an aquanaut member of the crew for NEEMO 14. For NEEMO 15, he has been a major contributor to the design of the equipment and methods the crew will use and will serve as the Deputy Mission Manager for the mission.


David Coan

David Coan

David Coan is an engineer working in NASA's Mission Operations Directorate as an Extravehicular Activity (EVA) instructor and flight controller, and will be part of the NEEMO 15 support team.




Tamar Cohen

Tamar Cohen

With a background in software engineering and fine art, Tamar works with NASA Ames' Intelligent Robotics group to bridge the gap between robots and humans. She designs and implements software to provide situational awareness for remote robotic operation. She holds an IM.A. in Visual Information Technology from George Mason University and a B.S. in Computer Science from Cornell University.


Michael Downs

Michael Downs

Michael Downs is an Engineering Project Manager with the IT Computational Sciences Branch at NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

He started working for NASA as part of the Summer High School Apprenticeship and Research Program (SHARP) in 1991, and has been hooked ever since. During college, he was a cooperative education student at NASA while pursuing his undergraduate degree in Computer Science from the University of Central Florida. Mike's current responsibilities have him supporting NASA's Exploration Analog Field Tests (NEEMO, Pavilion Lake Research Project, and Desert RATS), as well as working the Constellation program's recovery and retrieval communications.

On NEEMO, Mike is responsible for the topside Mobile Mission Control Center (MMCC) trailer, voice/video/data communications systems, as well as assisting as a support diver.


Alex Forrest

Alex Forrest

Alex is a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Dr. Bernard Laval. His research interests include combining field and numerical modeling techniques to describe the geochemistry and the fluid mechanics of benthic environments. The main focus of his field work includes the application of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to fluid mechanics problems in a range field deployments. Recent expeditions include the Canadian High Arctic, northern Scotland and the Caribbean.

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Barbara Janoiko

Barbara Janoiko

Barbara Janoiko is an Engineering Project Manager in the Crew and Thermal Systems Division at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. While earning her B.S. in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University, she worked for NASA as a cooperative education student. She has been a Project Manager for EVA tools and for the suit port and aft deck systems of the Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV) project. She is the Test Coordinator and backup Mission Manager for the Desert RATS analog mission, and coordinates/integrates the mission managers of NASA's other analog missions. She is also a Suit Test Engineer and test subject.


Susan Y. Lee

Susan Y. Lee

Susan Y. Lee is the Lead Hardware Engineer for the Intelligent Robotics Group at Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. After graduating with a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, she started her career at NASA as the mechanical/systems engineering lead for the K-9 robot, a prototype Mars space rover. She is now the hardware lead for the K10 Lunar, and KREX rover test-bed projects. Her responsibilities include instrument integration, mechanical design, power systems, and electrical/firmware design.

Susan has been part of the engineering field team in numerous NASA-led robotic field experiments including the Coordinated Field Test (Meteor Crater, Arizona, September 2006), the Lunar Site Survey project (Haughton Crater, Devon Island, 2007), Robotic Recon and Follow-up for Human Exploration of the Moon (Haughton Crater, Devon Island, 2010), Moses Lake Coordinated Field Test (Washington, 2008), and the DRATS field experiments (Black Point Lava Flow, Arizona, 2009, 2010, 2011).

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She is also the Project Manager for the VERVE and Gigapan Voyage projects. The VERVE project develops real-time 3D virtual environments and control software for scientists to use in Lunar and Mars missions. The Gigapan Voyage project provides test crew and scientists web-based access to an all-in-one high resolution panorama capturing and exploration system that is mounted on a robotic platform. Gigapan Voyage is integrated on the Space Exploration Vehicles for DRATS, the K10 rovers, and is being tested for use underwater for the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) project.

David Lees

David Lees

David Lees is a researcher in the NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group. He holds a B.S. EE&CS from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. His areas of expertise are Robotics and Computer/Human Interaction.


Darlene Lim

Darlene Lim

Darlene is a geobiologist and limnologist (and yes, her last name is Lim) based at the NASA Ames Research Center. Her research interests span Earth and Space Science. She conducts limnological and paleolimnological investigations of remote lakes and ponds in the Canadian High Arctic to characterize Holocene climate change. She has also extrapolated her Arctic work to Mars analogue paleolake reconstructions. Since 1999, she has been participating in the NASA/SETI Haughton Mars Project, and was selected to inhabit the Mars Society's Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS), the world's first Mars simulation base, at Haughton Crater in 2000 and 2001. She now sits on the Mars Society's Steering Committee.

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Margarita Marinova

Margarita Marinova
Science Team/Traverse Planning Support

Margarita's main research interests are in characterizing extreme environments, and understanding the surface of Mars. She received her bachelor's degree in Aeronautics and Astronauts at MIT in 2003, consequently working at EADS in Munich, Germany on rocket propulsion engines. She then worked at NASA Ames Research Center in California on understanding extreme environments and the limits of habitability for Earth life.

Margarita received her PhD in Planetary Science from Caltech in 2010, where she examined planetary-scale impacts and their implications for the early history of Mars and the solid Solar System planets. Her research interests focus on understanding interesting processes and features on Mars through simulations and field measurements. As part of her work to understand Mars, Margarita studies analogue locations on the Earth. Her study sites range from the High Arctic, to the Sahara Desert in Egypt, the bottom of a lake in British Columbia in Canada, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and to the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. Her love for science is strengthened by the excitement of discovering and understanding how nature works.


Jessica Marquez

Jessica Marquez

Dr. Marquez's work focuses on developing tools for people that support human space exploration, be it trainers, flight controllers, or astronauts. Her interests include: human space exploration, human-computer interaction, space human factors, extravehicular activities (EVA), spatial disorientation, and space human physiology. In addition, she enjoys education outreach activities, such as talking to students about human space flight and supporting space-related museum exhibits.


Howard Mendlovitz

Howard Mendlovitz

Born in Chicago, some of my earliest and fondest memories are of hanging out on Lake Michigan, enjoying the environment and my surroundings. I loved going beach combing and getting lost in the dunes for hours at a time. I was always bugging friends to spend time at the lake. From these childhood experiences, I learned to love the outdoors and the environment.
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At the same time, I was also always curious about how things worked, and as a kid I was always taking things apart to see what makes them tick… although I couldn't always put them back together! I entered college as a computer major (another interest of mine), but one semester of staring at a screen in a small dark room was enough for me. I missed the sunshine and the tinkering. After my first year at North Carolina State University (NCSU), I fortuitously ran into a Marine, Earth and Atmospherics professor who was looking for a summer student to work on various projects in his laboratory. I started by running samples, but by my senior year, I had progressed to improving and building new equipment. My senior year of college, as I started interviewing for jobs, I realized that my chemical engineering degree might potentially land me in a factory somewhere. After the fun of working in marine sciences, I couldn't see myself in a traditional chemical engineering position. At the same time, while trying to decide what to do with my future, I was invited to work in a Marine Sciences Laboratory at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). The work at UNC-CH was supposed to have been a temporary gig, but here I am, 20 years later. Working in Marine Sciences has given me a chance to enjoy the two things I like best, building things and being outdoors. During my time at UNC-CH, I have designed and built a variety of environmental equipment, from underwater sampling and sensor apparatus to atmospheric sensors for the research in our laboratories. I’ve worked in and around the Aquarius habitat for many years, including a several stint as an aquanaut. I am excited to join the NASA science team for this NEEMO mission. This will be a great chance to integrate some of our data with other team members and see what could be possible in the future.


Mark Patterson

Mark Patterson
Mark R. Patterson is Professor of Marine Science at the College of William & Mary, where he has taught for 19 years. Dr. Patterson is an underwater explorer, inventor, and entrepreneur. He directs the Autonomous Systems Laboratory at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. In 1996, he received the Phi Beta Kappa Award for the Advancement of Scholarship for his interdisciplinary work on how corals feed and respond metabolically to water currents.
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In 2008, Dr. Patterson was honored with the Lockheed Martin Award for Ocean Science & Engineering for the “highest achievements in the field of ocean science and engineering,” specifically his sustained creativity in the field of underwater autonomous robotics, a discipline and industry he helped create. In 2010, he received an Outstanding Faculty Award from the Governor of Virginia, the Commonwealth’s highest honor for college professors, both public and private. A world-class scientist with 42 publications including two patents, he is a gifted teacher who uses technology to engage students in the excitement of exploration and discovery.

While using his robots for cutting-edge research on the health of marine ecosystems from the Chesapeake Bay to Antarctica, Dr. Patterson co-founded a small business, Sias Patterson, the first company to sell small Autonomous Underwater Vehicles. This created jobs in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area, including significant downstream effects at Northrop Grumman, the region’s largest private employer. His economic development activities are substantial, including involvement with organizations that are working to bring high-paying jobs in unmanned systems to the region and his appointment to the Board of Directors of AUVSI, the world’s largest organization devoted to the commercialization, research, and development of unmanned systems.

An aquanaut, he has spent 79 days living in the underwater laboratories Aquarius and its predecessor Hydrolab. With support from the Living Oceans Foundation, he taught college classrooms from the bottom of the ocean to universities across the planet. During another teaching experiment, JASON XI, conducted with noted explorer Robert Ballard and NASA astronaut William “Shep” Shepherd, he reached half a million K-12 students. He continues to experiment with new methods for education including YouTube videos, webinars, and remote control of his robots over the web by novices.

Dr. Patterson received his A.B. magna cum laude with highest honors in biology, A.M., and Ph.D. from Harvard.


Heather Paul

Heather Paul

Heather Paul was born in Deer Park, New York, attended high school in Atlanta, Georgia, and now considers Houston, Texas to be her hometown. She attended Auburn University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish. While pursuing her undergraduate degrees, she worked as a cooperative education student at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), working in areas such as life sciences, propulsion, and space suit and tool design.

She continued her education and work experience as she attended the University of Texas at Austin and combined her research on fibrous insulation materials for the advanced spacesuit with her work as a graduate cooperative education student at JSC. Heather earned her Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering prior to starting work full-time with NASA, and later earned a second Master's degree in Fitness and Human Performance from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

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At work, Heather leads the efforts to communicate the capabilities, technologies, and personnel of her engineering division to technical audiences for business development and collaborative initiatives, and to students, educators, and the general public for education and public outreach efforts. She also works with NASA analog teams such as NEEMO and Desert RATS to ensure that these fantastic science, engineering, and mission activities are well communicated to the public.

For fun, Heather is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. She teaches a variety of classes including hip hop dance and strength and conditioning, and she enjoys helping people stay healthy and happy! Heather also loves to travel and play with her dog Molly.

Marc Seibert

Marc Seibert

Marc Seibert is a Senior Research Engineer at NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Marc works a variety of Special Projects and investigations for KSC, NASA and other US organizations, focused on advancing technologies associated with space tracking, timing, networking and communications (TTNC) and exploration TTNC subsystems. Marc holds a Master's degree from Case Western University in Space Communications and Emulation.

In the NASA analogs environment, Marc is responsible for managing the design, coordination, deployment, and operations of the Space Network Research Federation (SNRF) to link many sites together including the remote analog test sites with partners.

Marc also manages the design, development, test, deployment and operations of a variety of space-emulating infrastructure TTNC and exploration vehicle and EVA suit subsystems technologies.


Monika K. Schultz

Monika K. Schultz

Monika K. Schultz is an Engineer with the United Space Alliance, a NASA contractor at the Johnson Space Center. She was born August 15, 1967 in Pasadena, Texas but considers Nassau Bay, Texas her hometown. She is married to Sven E. Schultz and they have one son. She enjoys biking, hiking, sailing, diving, reading, and zymurgy.

Monika graduated from Clear Creek High School in League City, Texas in 1985 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Rice University in 1990.

Monika has never really known exactly what she wanted to do when she grows up. She got an engineering degree because she was pretty good at math and science, she liked science, and it seemed like there were many good jobs for engineers. Originally, she thought she would find work in the Texas Medical Center since her primary interest was biomedical engineering, but then she decided that commuting from her suburban home into Houston was not how she wanted to spend so much of her time. So she decided to see what NASA might have to offer since it is right in her "back yard"'; and started looking up "Aerospace Companies" in the yellow pages.

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After getting her degree from Rice, Monika began working for Rockwell Space Operations Company providing engineering support to the Astronaut Office on Space Shuttle payloads. In 1998, Monika accepted a position with Spacehab, Inc. to provide science mission management for their Spacehab module mission on the Space Shuttle.

In late 1999, Monika returned to work for United Space Alliance (formerly Rockwell) and the Astronaut Office. She is currently managing a training program to prepare potential International Space Station astronauts for the unique personal and interpersonal aspects of long duration space flight. She works with many different people to arrange classroom training, backpacking courses in summer and winter, and NEEMO missions for Astronauts. The most exciting part about this job it the opportunity to participate in a variety of fun outdoor activities. The most boring thing is dealing with all of the paperwork it takes to make it all happen.

Art Trembanis

Art Trembanis

Art leads PI of the autonomous robot precursor missions in support of NEEMO, providing high-resolution baseline mapping data used by the team for Aquanaut mission planning.

He is an Associate Professor at the University of Delaware, with areas of expertise including sediment transport processes, bottom boundary layer dynamics and AUVs. He holds a B.S. in Geology/Oceanography from Duke University, Magna Cum Laude and a Ph.D. from the College of William and Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences. He was a Fulbright Fellow at Sydney University, Sydney, Australia and a WHOI/USGS Postdoctoral Fellow.