WISE Distinguished Speaker - Dr. Kimberly Ennico-Smith

Wednesday, April 28
Event Time 03:30 p.m. - 05:30 p.m.
Location Zoom Event
Contact Email


Dr. Kimberly Ennico-Smith
VIPER Mission Deputy Project Scientist
NASA’s AMES Research Center

A next great leap in mapping water on the Moon

Abstract: While the existence of lunar volatiles has been known since the Apollo era, only more recently (the last 10-20 years) has the extent and form of these volatiles been better understood. It now appears that potentially economically significant amounts of water ice exist at the poles of the Moon, however, the distribution of this water is still not understood at a level sufficient to fully evaluate economic models. NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) mission presents an opportunity to identify and characterize water ice and other potential resources at the “human” or “rover” scale. VIPER can ground-truth hypotheses made from decades of orbital data and evolving modeling about the “lunar water cycle.” This talk summarizes the motivations for, the design of, and the significance of this mission. VIPER is scheduled to be launched as a payload on the CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) provided Astrobotic Griffin lander to a lunar polar region.

Bio: Dr. Kimberly Ennico-Smith is a research astrophysicist and mission scientist at NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. She is multidisciplinary in her approach to  space instruments, telescopes, and mission concepts. She has designed and built infrared airborne and space telescope cameras and spectrometers, tested detectors in laboratories and particle accelerators, designed low-cost suborbital instruments, and built lunar payloads. She has served as Project Scientist for the flying infrared observatory SOFIA and deputy Project Scientist on the New Horizons Pluto fly-by mission. She has been a member of the Science and Technology Definition Team for the Origins Space Telescope. Presently she is a deputy Project Scientist on the lunar VIPER rover. She has authored 120+ peer-reviewed papers and delivered 50+ invited technical talks and 70+ public presentations about astronomy, space exploration and STEM. Asteroid 154587 Ennico is named for her.

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