What I Do At NASA: Week 6

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Person of the Week:

Photo of Scott SandfordName:
Scott Sanford
Job Title: 
Research Astrophysicist
What I do for NASA:
I do a variety of things at NASA as part of my job. I help run the Astrophysics and Astrochemistry Laboratory, which simulates various environments in space in order to better understand the molecular chemistry that goes on out there. I also work on sample return missions like OSIRIS-REx, which is currently on its way to Asteroid Bennu to get a sample and bring it back to Earth for study. I also lead the Ames Research Center Team that is a part of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). My NAI team is focused on understanding the chemistry that happens in space and how it may play a role in life getting started on planets.
What I am reading right now:
I'm usually in the middle of several books at one time - mostly science fiction, science, or history books (I knock off about a book a week). Currently I'm reading a science fiction anthology entitled "5 Galaxy Short Novels" and the book "Vor" by James Blish (both 'golden oldies').

What I am looking forward to this summer:
I usually have several hundred books in my 'To Be Read' pile (my wife is a librarian and is constantly bringing more books into the house) and I grab whatever I'm in the mood for when I finish off a previous book. During the course of the summer I will probably manage to read ~10 of the books in my pile, but at the moment it's anybody's guess what they will be. On the non-reading front, I also am planning on doing a road trip to watch the total solar eclipse happening on August 21.


Located right here in Silicon Valley, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center contributes to virtually every major NASA mission and initiative via expertise in the following core areas:
  • Entry systems
  • Advanced Computing & IT Systems
  • Aerosciences
  • Air Traffic Management
  • Astrobiology and Life Science
  • Cost-Effective Space Missions
  • Intelligent/Adaptive Systems
  • Space and Earth Science

This incredible research center is one of 10 field centers for NASA and has been a leader in world class development and research for 70 years. 

Over 2500 people work in a variety of roles at Ames from scientists and engineers to educators and inventors. SCCLD’s Reading by Design program celebrates such creativity, inquisitiveness and innovation crucial in these exciting roles. This summer SCCLD in partnership with NASA will spotlight some these amazing people and their work at NASA Ames.

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