Acting Branch Chief: Mark Fonda
Assistant Chief: Christine Martinez
Branch Office: 650.604.5528
Observations, Instrument Development, and Experiments
We perform observations from ground-based and space-born telescopes to better understand the origin of stars and planetary systems and support space missions. We had more successful Spitzer space telescope proposals than any other organization, we have performed observations from the Hubble space telescope and space mission spectrometers such as Cassini VIMS, and our scientists are so well respected that they chair and sit on observatory time allocation committees.
The SOFIA water vapor monitor
We develop instruments and detectors to improve the capabilities of ground based and airborn telescopes. This is possible thanks to our scientists expertise in IR observations and our highly specialized instrument development shop tailored to producing scientific equipment and rapid prototyping which has produced flight hardware for airborne and space use. The team of technicians has extensive expertise with high vacuum systems, cryogenics, and optics. But that’s not all…
Ice Spectroscopy and photo-chemistry:
Facilities include High-vacuum cryogenic equipment to simulate space ices, from interstellar grains at 10 K to icy surfaces of planets, comets, and satellites in the outer Solar System.
Alexandrite, Nd/YAG, and dye lasers and associated optical instrumentation for the vaporization, and photo-luminescence, and spectroscopic analysis of materials.
Chromatography for the analysis of organic molecules from meteorites and simulation experiments.
Code SSA Highlights
A scientific paper has just appeared in the journal Astrobiology in which it is shown that UV irradiation of astrophysical ices containing pyrimidine can result in the abiotic production of the molecule uracil. Uracil is one of the nucleobases that are the building blocks of DNA and RNA. The work was done by Michel Nuevo, […]
Dr. Cruikshank has accepted an invitation to participate in the Steering Group of the Planetary Decadal Survey that will establish priorities in Solar System missions and related research for the next decade. The Survey is an activity of the National Research Council (Space Studies Board) of the National Academy of Sciences, done at the request […]
Tom Greene was nominated to serve on the Electromagnetic Observations from Space Program Prioritization Panel of the Astro2010 decadal survey being conducted by the National Academy of Sciences. He has indicated his intent to serve on the panel, and his membership should be finalized within several weeks after a public comment period and a conflict […]
On January 28-29, 2010, Dr. Scott Sandford of Code SSA served as a guest Speaker and resource person for the “So’ ba hane’ – Story of the Stars Educator Workshop” held in Window Rock, AZ. This workshop was the result of a collaborative effort supported by the NASA NAI and OSS programs and the Navajo […]
On January 21, 2010 the NASA Ames NAI (NASA Astrobiology Institute) team conducted an Education and Public Outreach event with the Hartshorne High School and the Choctaw Nation Jones Academy, Hartshorne, OK. Using NASA’s Digital Learning Network (DLN), Dr. Andrew Mattioda of the Ames NAI team conducted a seminar on Astrochemistry and Astrobiology with the […]