Search Search

Explore JPL - Seminar #2

Monday, October 13, 2014
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Location: Noyes 153 (J. Holmes Sturdivant Lecture Hall)

This lunch-time program is designated to help undergrads learn more about the research happening at the Jet Propulsion Lab and connect them with possible SURF mentors for next summer.
Focus:  Astrobiology, Astronomy, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, System Engineering
A boxed lunch will be provided

Please RSVP at:


Glenn Orton: Dr. Orton did his undergraduate work at Brown in Physics honors (1970), PhD at Caltech in planetary science (1975), two years as a NASA/National Research Council postdoc at JPL, 1/2 year as a contractor, and was then named as a Research Scientist at JPL in 1977. Dr. Orton was promoted to a senior research scientist in 1995. He works primarily in the infrared, doing remote sensing of the atmospheres of the outer solar system to determine thermal structure and composition, and has published over 170 papers in the peer-reviewed literature as a primary author or co-author. In addition to experience acquiring ground-based observations (NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, Keck I Telescope, Subaru Telescope, United Kingdom Infrared Telescope, James Clerke Maxwell Telescope, University of Hawaii telescope, Gemini North and South Telescopes, Very Large Telescope, Palomar 5-meter telescope, Kuiper Airborne Observatory, Stratospheric Observatory for Airborne Astronomy), he has been on the spacecraft teams over various missions (Pioneer 10, 11; Galileo; Cassini and Juno science teams; as well as Hubble, Spitzer and Herschel key-project and guest investigator). Dr. Orton has mentored about 190 students in SURF and various other programs during various parts of the academic year. He currently represents JPL on Caltech's SURF Advisory Committee.

Jessica Samuels: Jessica Samuels is currently a Technical Group Supervisor for the System Verification and Validation Engineering Group in the Flight System, Integration and Test Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Over her time at JPL she has supported the Mars Exploration Rover, Deep Impact and Mars Science Laboratory missions in various Integration and Test, Systems Engineering and Operations roles. She holds Bachelor of Science degrees in both Aeronautical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Davis.

Steve Vance: Dr. Vance is a Research Scientist at JPL and acting Staff Scientist for the Europa Clipper Mission concept being studied by NASA. He is also a Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington in Seattle, and a Visiting Researcher at the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Steve has dedicated his career to investigating oceans and water rock interactions relevant to life on other worlds.

After completing a PhD thesis on experimental chemistry simulating conditions of high pressure and low temperature in Europa's ocean, Steve's postdoctoral work at JPL grew to include laboratory development and field deployment of tunable laser spectrometers. As part of his leading role with the Icy Worlds Astrobiology group at JPL, Vance conducts laboratory measurements of chemical exchanges between water, carbon dioxide, and hydrocarbons including methane, to understand processes on Mars, Titan, and other worlds that may have life. He also continues to work on understanding extraterrestrial oceans, investigating the properties of ocean solutions and uses this new information in computations to assess ocean depths, global circulation patterns, and water-rock chemistry pertinent to biology.

For more information, please phone 626-395-2885 or email

Upcoming events

Event archive