John Hamilton

Expertise: Analog site operations and logistics
Affiliation: Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, University of Hawai`i at Hilo (UHH) and the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES)
Certification/Education: M.S. Astronomy (Univ. of Hawaii at Mānoa), BS. Physics, BA Astronomy (Univ of Texas at Austin)

BASALT Research Objectives

To plan, facilitate and execute the successful field operations for the geo and bio sampling protocols here in Hawai`i and at CotM. And also provide educational/research opportunities for students at UH-Hilo


An Aiea High School alumni (1973) from O`ahu, John was one of 25 NASA Skylab Student Experiment finalists flying an astronomy project to obtain UV spectra from QSOs (quasi-stellar objects). He earned a B.A. in astronomy and B.S. in physics in 1977 with honors at the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master’s in astronomy at the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1980.

Hamilton worked on Haleakala, Maui observing the Sun in support of the NASA Solar-Max satellite, followed by work with laser-ranging satellites at LURE (Lunar Ranging Experiment) observatory.  He then moved to Hawai`i working as operator and observer support at the NASA Infra-Red Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea, as well as the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and Gemini Observatory.

He then joined the Department of Physics & Astronomy faculty at the University of  Hawaii at Hilo (UHH) as an Instructor while also working on projects such as the UHH Hoku Kea telescope on Mauna Kea, establishing the Ashra cosmic ray observatory on Mauna Loa, and joining PISCES in 2007 as Research Operations Manager, and later as acting Director (2012)

Hamilton has received the JUSTSAP Outstanding Service Award (2008), three NASA Group Achievement Awards for the In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) RESOLVE Team (2008), the ISRU Analog Demo Team (2010), and the International Lunar Surface Operations ISRU Field Test (2011).  In 2014 he received the NASA Certificate of Appreciation for the Mauna Kea/Mars analogue geology project.

PISCES was legislatively transferred to the Office of Aerospace Development at DBEDT (Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism) in 2012, John became the Test Logistics and Education/Public Outreach Manager while still maintaining faculty status at UH-Hilo.  He has since worked with several Google Lunar X-Prize teams and projects and has been a judge at the 2013 NASA Lunabotics Competition, as well as the first 2 NASA Robotics Mining Competition at Kennedy Space Center in 2014 and 2015.