- Thomas Zurbuchen Leaves NASA
- Thomas Zurbuchen Roles in NASA
- Thomas Zurbuchen’s Career and Achievements
NASA’s Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Thomas Zuburchen, is set to retire at the end of the year. The Swiss-American physicist oversaw some of the space agency’s most ambitious projects, including the James Webb Space Telescope launch and the Mars rover Perseverance. In a memo sent to NASA employees on Tuesday, he announced his planned departure.
Thomas Zurbuchen Leaves NASA
Zurbuchen has served since 2016 as head of NASA’s science mission directorate. He oversaw nearly 100 missions for the agency. “This is a difficult decision for me,” he wrote, “but I believe it is time for a fresh start – for the directorate and for me.”
When the Perseverance rover was sent to Mars, he was the team leader for the science directorate. During this time, the rover collected rock samples to study in order to determine whether the planet is habitable. The rover’s mission included the first-ever flight of a helicopter on another planet.
In addition, he has worked on several NASA science missions, including Ulysses, the MESSENGER spacecraft to Mercury, and the Advanced Composition Explorer, according to The Planetary Society.
Thomas Zurbuchen Roles in NASA
With its Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, his unit was an early participant in Artemis. This program intends to send privately built lunar landers to study the moon’s surface before sending humans there in the coming years.
He also spearheaded civilian participation in the Pentagon’s program to track and detect mysterious objects in the sky. This project aims to investigate unidentified aerial phenomena.
According to Reuters, Bobby Braun, the head of the space exploration sector at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, attested that Zurbuchen was responsible for assembling a diverse team and delivering countless successful space science missions. He also mentioned how the science chief had been a catalyst for improvement at NASA by making investments in fresh approaches to advancing the field and expanding its community.
(Photo : NASA/Bill Ingalls/Wikimedia Commons)
Thomas Zurbuchen during James Webb Telescope Prelaunch
Thomas Zurbuchen’s Career and Achievements
Zurbuchen was raised in Switzerland. He was an early observer of the natural world, which led him to pursue degrees in physics. He received his doctorate and Master of Science degrees in physics from the Switzerland’s University of Bern.
NASA’s website stated that he was a space science and aerospace engineering professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He was also the founding director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Entrepreneurship in the College of Engineering. He created and led a number of campus-wide innovation initiatives. One of these campuses produced the nation’s top-ranked undergraduate entrepreneurship program.
His daily work focuses on ensuring that NASA’s science missions foster collaboration across disciplines and with industry and other nations. This mission seeks to generate new questions and contribute to the advancement of knowledge and exploration.
He is well-known for bringing a wealth of scientific research, engineering experience, and hands-on knowledge to NASA’s world-class team of scientists and engineers. He was also responsible for NASA’s science strategy. However, the highlight of his work is that he was able to motivate the teams to carry it out.
Zurbuchen has written or co-written over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles on topics such as solar and heliospheric phenomena.
Keyword: NASA Science Mission Directorate Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen Will Retire Later This Year>