NASA Chooses Its Next Chief Scientist: Jim Green

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NASA Chooses Its Next Chief Scientist: Jim Green

NASA has tapped Jim Green to be its next chief scientist, agency officials announced today (April 10).

Green, who has headed NASA's Planetary Sciences Division since August 2006, will begin his new job on May 1. He will succeed Gale Allen, who has been acting chief scientist since 2016 and will retire after more than three decades of government work, NASA officials said.

"I want to thank Gale for all she has done for the agency and, for the past few years, in the Office of the Chief Scientist. Gale had an amazing career and is a role model to so many. I wish her the best in retirement," acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement. 

"I’m excited to have Jim take on this new role," Lightfoot added. "He brings a variety of scientific research experience and planetary exploration expertise to the chief scientist position that will allow him to hit the ground running with great enthusiasm and engagement."

Lori Glaze, the current head of the Planetary Geology, Geophysics and Geochemistry Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will become acting director of the Planetary Sciences Division when Green assumes his new role, agency officials said. 

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NASA Announces New Chief Scientist

The FINANCIAL — Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot has named the Science Mission Directorate’s Planetary Science Division Director Jim Green as the agency’s new chief scientist, effective May 1.

He succeeds Gale Allen, who has served in an acting capacity since 2016 and will retire after more than 30 years of government service, according to NASA.

“I want to thank Gale for all she has done for the agency and, for the past few years, in the Office of the Chief Scientist. Gale had an amazing career and is a role model to so many. I wish her the best in retirement,’ Lightfoot said. ‘I’m excited to have Jim take on this new role. He brings a variety of scientific research experience and planetary exploration expertise to the chief scientist position that will allow him to hit the ground running with great enthusiasm and engagement.’

Green took on his current position as the director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in August 2006. During his 12 years in this role, he managed numerous successful missions from Mercury to Pluto that have ushered in a golden age of planetary exploration. These missions include: the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter; Mars rovers Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity; and the New Horizons mission to Pluto and beyond. Currently, he is engaged in preparations and negotiations for a variety of future NASA science missions, such as the next Mars lander and rover, and the Europa Clipper, as well as missions with international partners.

With Green’s departure from the Planetary Science Division, Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, has named Lori Glaze to the position of acting director. Since 2017, Glaze has served as the chief of the Planetary Geology, Geophysics and Geochemistry Laboratory at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Prior to that, she served as the deputy director of Goddard’s Solar System Exploration Division.

Jim Green to become NASA chief scientist in May

Jim Green, director of the planetary science division at NASA’s science mission director, has been appointed chief scientist at the space agency in a move that takes effect May 1.

Lori Glaze, head of the planetary geology, geophysics and geochemistry laboratory at Goddard Space Flight Center, will take over as interim planetary science division director.

Green ‘brings a variety of scientific research experience and planetary exploration expertise to the chief scientist position that will allow him to hit the ground running with great enthusiasm and engagement,’ said Robert Lightfoot, acting NASA administrator.

Green became the planetary science division chief in August 2006 and since then, he has led various missions such as the Mars rovers Spirit and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

He started his career at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center as part of the magnetospheric physics branch and served for seven years as head of the national space science data center at Goddard.

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