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Thomas Greene

Astrophysicist, Space Science and Astrobiology Division/Astrophysics Branch



Thomas Greene is an Astrophysicist in the Space Science and Astrobiology Division at NASA’s Ames Research Center. His research interests include observational studies of young stars and exoplanets as well as developing astronomical observatories and instrumentation. Greene was a co-investigator on the JWST NIRCam and MIRI JWST instruments and is now leading the MANATEE guaranteed time observing program to characterize exoplanets with those instruments. While at NASA Ames he has served as the Director of the Ames Center for Exoplanet Studies, Project Scientist of the SOFIA mission, and Chief of the Astrophysics Branch. Before joining NASA, he was a staff scientist at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, on the faculty of the University of Hawaii, and on the staff of the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility. Greene received a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Arizona.


Ph.D. Astronomy 1991, University of Arizona
BA Physics 1982, University of California Santa Cruz


1998 – present: Astrophysicist; Director, Ames Center for Exoplanet Studies (2008 – 2021); and Chief, Astrophysics Branch (1998–2001), NASA Ames Research Center

2004 (6 mo): Visiting Program Scientist, Astronomy & Physics Division, NASA HQ

1997 – 1998: Research Scientist, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, Palo Alto

1996 – 1997: NASA IRTF Director and Associate Astronomer, University of Hawaii

1992 – 1996: NASA IRTF staff and Deputy Director and Assistant Astronomer, University of Hawaii, Honolulu

1991 – 1992: National Research Council Postdoctoral Associate, Space Science Division, NASA Ames Research Center

1983 – 1985: Research Engineer and Software Engineer, Nanometrics Inc., Sunnyvale, CA

Professional Activities and Positions

NASEM Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2014 – 2022, co-chair 2019 – 2022

Keck Observatory Science Steering Committee, 2005 – 2010 & 2015 – 2022

Chair and co-founder of the quarterly Bay Area Exoplanet Meetings, 2012 – 2021

NASA Keck Observatory and Spitzer TACs: member, panel chair, chair roles, 2004 – 2016

NASA Exoplanet Program Analysis Group executive committee, 2010 – 2014

NASEM Astro2010 Decadal Survey Space (EOS) Program Prioritization Panel, 2009 – 2010

NASA Astrophysics Subcommittee and Origins Subcommittee, 2004 – 2008

Research Interests

Observational studies of exoplanets and protostars, ground and space observatories and instrumentation, scientific strategic planning and policy, mentoring young scientists.

Recent Awards/Honors

NASA Exceptional Service Medal, 2024

NASA Ames Honor Award for Scientific Excellence, 2023 

NASA Ames Associate Fellow, 2020

Curriculum Vitae 


Scientific Publications

Visit this link for a complete list of publications.

NASA Missions

NGST (nee JWST) Ad-hoc Science Working Group, 1998 – 2000 

NASA SOFIA Project Scientist, 2001 – 2005

NASA WFIRST-AFTA (nee Roman) Science Definition Team, 2012 – 2015

James Webb Space Telescope Mid-Infrared Science Team

James Webb Space Telescope NIRCam co-investigator

James Webb Space Telescope Users Committee, 2017 – 2023

Pandora Astrophysics Pioneers smallsat Co-Investigator, 2021 – present

Habitable Worlds Observatory Technical Assessment Group, 2023 – present