Amy Mainzer

Amy Mainzer

Amy Mainzer

NEOWISE Principal Investigator
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA

Amy Mainzer is a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  A planetary astronomer, her scientific interests include asteroids, comets, astronomical telescope and camera design, and science education. She served as deputy project scientist for NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission, an Earth-orbiting telescope designed to survey the entire sky in heat-sensitive infrared wavelengths.  Following successful completion of its prime mission, this telescope was renamed NEOWISE and given a new mission to characterize asteroids and comets; Mainzer is the principal investigator. She also is the principal investigator of the proposed Near-Earth Object Camera mission, which would carry out a comprehensive survey of asteroids and comets using a dedicated space telescope surveying the solar system from a vantage point beyond the Earth’s Moon.  Prior to joining the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2003, she designed and built the fine guidance sensor for NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope as an engineer at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center.  She currently serves as the curriculum consultant and on-camera host for the PBS Kids series “Ready Jet Go!” an animated and live-action children’s show aimed at teaching space and Earth science to kids as young as 3.