2021 NASA Exploration Science Awards
At the NASA Exploration Science Awards (NESF), the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) presents awards as a means of honoring key individuals in the community: the Eugene Shoemaker Medal for lifetime scientific achievement, the Michael J. Wargo Award for outstanding achievement in exploration science, the Susan Mahan Niebur Award for early career achievement, and the Angioletta Coradini Mid-Career Award.
The SSERVI awards are open to the entire research community and are presented with invited talks at the NESF. Nominations are welcome at any time but must be submitted in early March for consideration in that calendar year. Recipients do not need to reside in the U.S. or be U.S. citizens. Winners are formally presented with the awards at the NESF each summer. For more information on these awards and past recipients, visit http://sservi.nasa.gov/awards.
Eugene Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal
The 2021 Eugene Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal, named after one of the founders of planetary science, American geologist Eugene Shoemaker (1928–1997), is awarded to Paul G. Lucey for his significant scientific contributions throughout his career. The award includes a certificate and medal with the Shakespearian quote, “And he will make the face of heaven so fine, that all the world will be in love with night.”
Lucey is faculty at the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) at the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa. His research in planetary science and remote sensing has been instrumental in developing imaging spectrometers for NASA. He has been the principal investigator of numerous programs and has used hyperspectral imagery to map lunar materials efficiently. His research on the composition of the lunar crust has led to quantitative modeling of near-infraredspectra of the Moon. He has recently studied diverse rock types detected in the lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin by the Chang’E-4 lunar mission. Lucey is a SSERVI ICE Five-O team member modeling the physical, chemical, and isotopic signatures around the lunar poles. He has published extensively in prestigious journals, served on many national review and advisory committees, and is the co-inventor of multiple patents. Lucey’s significant contributions across many disciplines — from engineering new instruments to scientific data analysis — make him an outstanding and highly deserving recipient of the 2021 Shoemaker Medal.
Michael J. Wargo Exploration Science Award
The Michael J. Wargo Exploration Science Award is an annual award given to a scientist or engineer who has significantly contributed to the integration of exploration and planetary science throughout their career. Wargo (1951–2013) was Chief Exploration Scientist for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and was a strong advocate for the integration of science, engineering, and technology. The 2021 Michael J. Wargo Exploration Science Award is given to Darlene Lim, a research scientist at NASA Ames Research Center.
Lim is currently the Deputy Project Scientist for the NASA VIPER Lunar Rover Mission and also leads several NASA-funded research programs focused on blending field science with new concepts of operations for human and robotic teams. She is the principal investigator of the BASALT, SUBSEA, and Pavilion Lake research programs, deputy principal investigator for FINESSE, and science ops lead for RESOURCE. Lim has conducted field research around the world, on land, and underwater. She has served on several NASA Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group committees. She is currently serving on the NOAA Ocean Exploration Advisory Board and the NASA Network for Ocean Worlds Steering Committee.
Angioletta Coradini Mid-Career Award
The SSERVI Angioletta Coradini Mid-Career Award is given annually to a mid-career scientist for broad, lasting accomplishments related to SSERVI fields of interest. Coradini (1946–2011) was an Italian planetary scientist who has inspired astronomers around the world. The 2021 Angioletta Coradini Mid-Career Award is given to Timothy Glotch at Stonybrook University.
Glotch is a co-investigator on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Diviner Lunar Radiometer instrument and a participating scientist on the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission. Glotch’s planetary regolith research and laboratory spectroscopic measurements of terrestrial and extraterrestrial samples in simulated environments have contributed to quantitative remote sensing of the surfaces of the Moon, Mars, and small bodies. Glotch has been a principal investigator of two SSERVI teams and has led over 50 researchers and students in using state-of-the-art laboratory, theory, and field techniques to further NASA’s science and human exploration goals. He has also been a leader in equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility efforts at Stonybrook University and within SSERVI.
Susan Mahan Niebur Early Career Award
The Susan Mahan Niebur Early Career Award is an annual award given to an early-career scientist who has made significant contributions to the science or exploration communities. Recipients of the Susan M. Niebur Early Career Award are researchers who are no more than 10 years from receiving their Ph.D., have shown excellence in their field, and have demonstrated meaningful contributions to the science or exploration communities. Niebur (1978–2012) was a former Discovery Program scientist at NASA who initiated the first-ever Early Career Fellowship and the annual Early Career Workshop to help new planetary scientists break into the field. This year the prize is jointly presented to Dr. Parvathy Prem and Dr. Shuai Li.
Prem is a science team member of NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission and SEAL payload and is co-investigator on two SSERVI teams, LEADER and ICE Five-O. Her research focuses on applying computational methods to study solar system bodies and their interactions with the space environment. Current investigations include modeling the origin and transport of volatiles on the Moon and developing radiative transfer models to aid in the interpretation of remote sensing data. Prem is also serving as Science Organizing Committee co-chair for this year’s combined NASA Exploration Science Forum/European Lunar Symposium meeting.
Li is an assistant researcher at the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He is a member of SSERVI’s ICE Five-O team. His research in the non-icy components of icy bodies in the outer solar system provides clues about surface processes and their possible connections to the interior to improve our knowledge about the formation and evolution of the solar system.