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Dr. Stephen Schwartz

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Research Scientist

Currently resides in FL
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Areas of Expertise
Targets: Asteroids, Comets, Deimos, Icy satellites, Interplanetary Dust, Kuiper Belt, Phobos, Planetary rings, Trans-Neptunian objects
Disciplines/Techniques: Celestial Mechanics, Education/Public Outreach (EPO), Impacts, Numerical modeling, Photometry
Missions: Hayabusa2 (Japan), OSIRIS-REx
Mission Roles: Instrument Co-Investigator, Mission Co-Investigator, Mission science team

Research Interests

Dr. Steve Schwartz studies asteroid and cometary surface geophysics using spacecraft remote sensing data and numerical simulation. He is interested in applying numerical models of granular dynamics at different energy scales to study processes in the Solar System, as well as to spacecraft operations. Current areas of study include impact processes, from those of interplanetary dust particles into small-bodies to the giant impacts that govern late-stage planet formation. He is researching the physics entailed in different formation mechanisms of bilobate cometary bodies, which include primordial collapse from the circumstellar disk and more recent catastrophic disruption and reaccumulation mechanisms, the latter akin to processes more commonly associated with main-belt asteroids. For the DART mission, he is developing a new computational approach to link fluid-based simulations of impacts to particle-based simulations of late-stage crater formation and the resulting ejecta, in order to better connect the observed properties of the ejecta plume to the physical properties of Dimorphos’s surface.

Professional History

Dr. Schwartz received a Bachelor of the Arts degree from Columbia University with majors in Philosophy and Astronomy before teaching Astrophysics and Mathematics at a secondary school in Providence, RI. From the University of Maryland, he received a Master's degree in the field of Neutron Star Seismology, and later a Ph.D. on "The Development and Implementation of Numerical Tools for Investigation into the Granular Dynamics of Solid Solar System Bodies." As a cotoutelle, he also received a Ph.D. diploma with a physics discipline from the University de Nice, Sofia Antiplois in Nice, France.

Dr. Schwartz has served as participating scientist on the OSIRIS-REx mission, co-investigator on multiple instrument teams at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) for the Japanese Space Agency's Hayabusa2 mission (Onboard Navigational Camera, Sample Collection, SCI impactor), participating scientist on the DART mission, and is Science PI on a proposed student-led mission out of the University of Arizona to observe low-speed, low-gravity grain dynamics inside a centrifuging CubeSat (AOSAT). He has spent time at the Instituto de Física, Facultad de Ciencias in Montevideo, Uruguay as a junior visiting professor and is also currently an undergraduate research advisor as part of a NASA MIRO center at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Schwartz has since worked at the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, SESE at Arizona State University, and the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona before joining PSI in 2021.

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