News & Events


The Role of Leadership in the Journey to Gender Equity


In celebration of Women’s History Month, a panel discussion was organized to explore the steps taken to date by JPL and Caltech leadership to recruit, retain, and promote a diverse talent pool. The panel was moderated by Cinzia Zuffada, the JPL Associate Chief Scientist.  The panelists were Caltech Professor Melany Hunt, JPL Director for the Office of Safety and Mission Success Jan Chodas, and JPL Deputy Director Larry James. The panelists shared some accomplishments in gender equality over the last decade, and highlighted the next steps. Professor Hunt broadened the topic beyond Caltech to share successful approaches used by MIT, Harvey Mudd, and Boeing. She emphasized the importance of changing the culture and environment to be more accepting and encouraging to women and minorities. For example, training supervisors on ways to effectively mentor under-represented groups and identify their own biases as they sit on evaluation and promotion committees. [Event details]

Tags: MCE KISS Melany Hunt JPL Cinzia Zuffada Larry James Jan Chodas

NASA Software of the Year Award


Michele Judd, Managing Director of the Keck Institute for Space Studies, and the rest of the Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS) research team have won the 2011 NASA Software of the Year Award. This prestigious award is designed to give recognition to developers of exceptional software created for NASA. [NASA Press Release]

Tags: honors KISS Michele Judd

2011 Caltech Space Challenge


The Caltech Space Challenge was a Keck Institute for Space Studies workshop led by Aerospace graduate students Prakhar Mehrotra and Jon Mihaly. It brought together two teams of students from around the world to develop plans for deep-space missions that could carry humans to an asteroid and back. Both teams planned missions to an asteroid known as 1999 AO10, which is between 45 and 100 meters in length and is thought to have a relatively slow spin rate. Since relatively little is known about this asteroid, both teams called for robotic precursor missions that could gather information needed to help plan the later human mission. The competing mission descriptions, from Team Explorer and Team Voyager, were so evenly matched that the jurors had to use three different judging methods to finally settle on a winner. In the end, the victory and shiny new iPads went to Team Voyager. [Caltech Feature] [NPR Broadcast]

Tags: GALCIT KISS Prakhar Mehrotra Jon Mihaly Space Challenge

Nano-mechanics of Carbon Nanotube Research Wins Art Competition


Siddhartha (Sid) Pathak, a W. M. Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) Postdoctoral Fellow in Material Science, has received the first prize in the NanoArt 2011 International Competition. The inspiration for Dr. Pathak's entry entitled "In-situ SEM deformation of CNT micro-pillars" is his research on nano-mechanics of carbon nanotubes.  As a KISS postdoc Dr. Pathak is working with  Professor Julia Greer on mechanical testing of carbon nanotubes at submicron length scales, with a particular emphasis towards space applications.  

More »

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Julia Greer KISS Siddhartha Pathak

Best Paper Finalist in Robotics


Marin Kobilarov, a W. M. Keck Institute for Space Studies Postdoctoral Fellow, was a finalist for the best paper award in the 2011 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference - his paper is entitled Cross-Entropy Randomized Motion Planning .  The conference committee solicited original papers in all areas of robotics and followed a highly selective review process designed to select the best work of its kind in every category. Dr. Kobilarov is working on discrete geometric motion control of autonomous vehicles with Professors Mathieu Desbrun and Sergio Pelligrino.  [Read the paper]

Tags: honors GALCIT CMS Mathieu Desbrun Marin Kobilarov Sergio Pelligrino KISS