NASA Administrator Selects New Head of Science

Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced Monday Dr. Nicola Fox will serve as the associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, effective immediately.

“As the director of our Heliophysics Division, Nicky was instrumental in expanding the impacts and awareness of NASA’s solar exploration missions and I look forward to working with her as she brings her talents, expertise, and passion to her new role,” Nelson said. “We’re all grateful for the interim leadership of Sandra Connelly, who has done an incredible job keeping the mission moving forward over the last couple months.”

As NASA’s head of Science, Fox’s portfolio includes more than 100 NASA missions to explore the secrets of the universe – missions that assess questions as far ranging as how hurricanes form on Earth, how we can support astronauts on the Moon, and whether we are alone in the universe. She also will be responsible for fostering an inclusive, welcoming atmosphere and supporting a diverse team of scientists and engineers around the country at all stages of their careers.

Fox began her NASA career in 2018 leading the Heliophysics Division, overseeing the agency’s efforts to study the Sun and how its constant solar wind affects Earth and other planets. Prior to that, she worked at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where she was the chief scientist for heliophysics and the project scientist for NASA’s Parker Solar Probe.

Throughout her career, Fox has authored numerous scientific articles and papers, in addition to delivering science presentations worldwide. In 2021, she was awarded the American Astronautical Society’s Carl Sagan Memorial Award for her demonstrated leadership in the field of heliophysics with extensive project, program, and supervisory experience. She also is a recipient of NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal, awarded in 2020. 

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