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PSI’s Faith Vilas Named Editor of the Planetary Science Journal

Nov. 14, 2019

faith vilas

Faith Vilas


Tucson, Ariz. -- Faith Vilas, Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, has been named Editor of the Planetary Science Journal (PSJ). This new open access online journal was announced in August by the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and its Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) and will showcase significant developments, discoveries, and theories about planets, moons, small bodies, and the interactions among them — not only in our own Solar System but also in planetary systems around other stars. 

“I am excited by the opportunity to lead the Planetary Science Journal,” Vilas said. “As a gold open access journal, PSJ is positioned to address the rapid access to the planetary sciences results generated by both space probes and ground-based telescopes.  It will highlight the broad field of planetary sciences within the established AAS publications. 

“I look forward to working with both the DPS and AAS Journals to launch PSJ successfully” Vilas said. “Watch us grow!” 

The search was conducted by Ethan Vishniac, Editor in Chief of the AAS journals, and the DPS Publications Subcommittee, led by Ross Beyer of the SETI Institute. At the outset they described their ideal candidate as an individual with a record of achievement in planetary science, experience as an author and peer-reviewer, a clear vision for PSJ’s future, and previous work as an editor. “Faith Vilas checks all the boxes,” Vishniac said. 

“We are delighted at the selection of Faith Vilas as the first editor of the Planetary Science Journal, which will be soon bursting with discoveries from our Solar System and beyond,” said AAS President Megan Donahue, Michigan State University. “She brings wonderful experience and wisdom to what is sure to be a challenging but rewarding task: launching a brand new scientific journal in the rapidly growing field of planet formation and evolution and the detailed study of other worlds’ atmospheres, oceans, and surfaces.” 

Vilas will remain with the Planetary Science Institute and devote approximately 20% of her time to managing the PSJ and coordinating the review of submitted manuscripts. She has gained experience doing the latter for the AAS journals since she became a Science Editor earlier this year In 2018 she received the Harold Masursky Award for meritorious service to planetary science from the DPS, which she served as Chair in 1996-1997 and as Secretary-Treasurer from 1992 to 1995. She has degrees from Wellesley College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Arizona and has spent much of her career conducting ground- and space-based studies of asteroids, dwarf planets, the Moon, Mercury, and satellites of the outer planets. She has worked at NASA, the National Science Foundation, and several ground-based observatories, including the MMT Observatory in Arizona, which she led from 2005 to 2010. She has also hunted for meteorites in Antarctica and, as a licensed paramedic, served as medical officer for the expedition team. 

“Faith Vilas is a leader in our field and brings numerous exceptional qualities to her new position, including wide-ranging knowledge in planetary science, editorial experience, and fresh ideas for the new journal,” says DPS Chair Amanda Hendrix, Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute. “We are so excited about the PSJ and about having Faith at its helm!” 


Alan Fischer

Public Information Officer


fischer [at]




Faith Vilas

Senior Scientist

fvilas [at]


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