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Dr. Thomas Prettyman

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Senior Scientist

Currently resides in Los Ranchos, NM
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Areas of Expertise
Targets: Asteroids, Ceres, Comets, Dwarf planets, Earth, Mars, Mercury, Meteorites, Moon, Small satellites, Venus, Vesta
Disciplines/Techniques: Education/Public Outreach (EPO), Geology, Mapping, Neutron detectors, Numerical modeling, Remote sensing, Shape modeling, Space-based observing
Missions: Dawn, Lunar Prospector, Mars Odyssey
Mission Roles: Calibration/Test planning, Data archive, Data validation, Electronics design, Flight Software, Instrument operations, Instrument PI, Mission Co-Investigator, Mission science team, Requirements generation and flow down

Research Interests

Dr. Thomas Prettyman engages in nuclear spectroscopy data analysis applied to solar system exploration, including the Moon, Mars, Vesta and Ceres. He is interested in developing laboratory resources to demonstrate proof-of-principle for instrumentation concepts, and investigate the possibility of developing engineering capabilities for flight instrumentation. He is also interested in other applications of nuclear spectroscopy, including imaging and tomography, radiation therapy, homeland defense, and geophysical logging, which in many cases use similar sensor technology and analytical capabilities to those needed for space and planetary science applications.  

Professional History

Dr. Prettyman received his PhD in Nuclear Engineering in 1991 from North Carolina State University. He joined PSI in 2007 after 14 years as a member of the Technical Staff of Los Alamos National Laboratory. While at LANL, he wa involved in the development of CdZnTe, a wide bandgap semiconductor used for high-resolution gamma ray spectroscopy at room temperature. He also participated in the design, development, and operations of space-based radiation detectors for Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear monitoring payloads. Prettyman was a member of the Lunar Prospector team and was a Participating Scientist on  the 2001 Mars Odyssey Gamma Ray Spectrometer investigation (primary and extended missions). He is the PI of the Dawn Gamma Ray Neutron Detector (GRaND).

Honors and Awards

Minor Planet 24994 Prettyman
NASA Group Achievement Awards for Lunar Prospector (1999), Mars Odyssey (2002), and Dawn (2008, 2009, 2013)
LANL Large Team Distinguished Performance Awards for Lunar Prospector (1998), Mars Odyssey (2002), and the SABRS Validation Experiment (SAVE) (2004)

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