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Board of Trustees

Dr. Tim Hunter

Tim Hunter, M.D., Chair

Hunter obtained a B.A. degree from DePaul University in 1966 and the M.D. degree from Northwestern University in 1968. He also received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Arizona in 1980. Currently, he is a Professor in the Department of Radiology in the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona. Tim Hunter has been an amateur astronomer since 1950. With James McGaha, he operates Grasslands Observatory in Sonoita, Arizona. He recently completed a Masters degree (MSc) in Astronomy from Swinburne University.  Since 1986, he has been interested in the growing problem of light  pollution. In 1987, Tim Hunter and Dr. David Crawford founded the International Dark-Sky Association, Inc., to promote quality outdoor lighting and combat the effects of light pollution.

Pam Melroy Pam Melroy (Colonel, USAF, RET.), Vice-Chair

Pam Melroy is a retired Air Force test pilot and former pilot and commander of the Space Shuttle. She received a B.A. degree in Physics and Astronomy from Wellesley College in 1983 and an M.S. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1984. Melroy has logged more than 6,000 hours flight time in more than 50 different aircraft. After NASA, she worked at Lockheed Martin on the Orion program, and was acting Deputy Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation at the Federal Aviation Administration. She most recently served as Deputy Director, Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Dr. Michael Belton

Michael J.S. Belton, Ph.D.

Belton has been involved in the study of planetary objects throughout his entire career. Upon receiving his doctorate’s degree in 1964, Belton moved to the Kitt Peak National Observatory and joined the “Space Division.” He remained at Kitt Peak until 2000, when le left the observatory to set up Belton Space Exploration Initiatives, LLC. He continues to hold the rank of Emeritus Astronomer at the Observatory. Belton is a past chair of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and for a short period was a vice-president of the AAS. Most recently he chaired the first “decadal” study of Solar System Exploration for the national Research Council and a NASA Workshop on the “Scientific Requirements for Mitigation of Hazardous Comets and Asteroids.” He has published more than 290 articles on research topics in planetary science and, in 1995, he was awarded the Gerard P. Kuiper Prize in Planetary Science by the American Astronomical Society. Also in recognition of his work, minor planet 3498 has been named for him.

In Memoriam

Dr. William K. Hartmann

William K. Hartmann, Ph.D.

Hartmann is a founder and Senior Scientist of the Planetary Science Institute. He and Don Davis (see below) are known for developing, at PSI, the current theory of the origin of the Moon by a large planetesimal impact into the forming Earth. Hartmann's current work involves development of the "PSI isochron system" of counting impact craters to infer ages of various planetary surface units. Hartmann holds a Ph.D. in Astronomy and M.S. in Geology from the University of Arizona. He was the first winner of the Carl Sagan Award from the American Astronomical Society, a winner of the G.K. Gilbert award from the Geological Society of America, and a co-winner of the Runcorn-Florensky medal from the European Geophysical Union. In addition to his planetary work, he is known for his astronomical paintings and popular writing, including textbooks, popular science, and two published novels.

Erin Neal

Erin Neal

Neal is the founder and sole proprieter of Velocity Government Relations, serving the aerospace and defense communities in Washington, D.C. She is currently Vice President and Programs Chair for the Washington Space Business Roundtable and is slated to take over the helm of that organization in mid-2018. She is a past President of both the National Space Club and Women in Aerospace, and a prior Board Member of the American Astronautical Society. Neal has a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the Centenary College of Louisiana and a Master's in International Science, Technology and Public Policy from The George Washington University. Neal taught math and science as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon, Central Africa, and while conducting original space research at the University of Texas at Dallas, Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, and at the Lunar and Planetary Institute adjacent to Johnson Space Center in Houston. She was a policy analyst for the Congressional Research Service, the National Academy of Sciences, NASA Headquarters and the Space Policy Institute. She has also served as a senior staffer to U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and as a staff member for two Members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In her spare time, Erin leads a Girl Scout troop focused on STEM, community service, and the great outdoors.

Dr. Mark Sykes

Mark V. Sykes, Ph.D., J.D.

Sykes is the C.E.O. and Director of the Planetary Science Institute. He studies asteroids, comets and interplanetary dust, using both  ground-based and space-based telescopes, primarily in the thermal infrared. He is the discoverer of cometary dust trails and many extended structures arising from asteroid collisions within the zodiacal cloud. He is the former Chair of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, and was made a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his science advocacy. He has been honored by the designation of Minor Planet 4438 Sykes, and has also been honored with the 2016 Masursky Award by the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society for outstanding service to planetary science and exploration. Mark received his Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences in 1986 and 1998 from the University of Arizona (and is admitted to the Arizona Bar).  Mark is also a professional musician, performing more than 30 seasons with the Arizona Opera Company in its chorus. He is a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists.

Trustees Emeritus

Dr. Donald Davis photo

Donald R. Davis, Ph.D.

Davis is a Founder and Senior Scientist of the Planetary Science Institute. He is a Trustee Emeritus of the PSI Board of Trustees on which he served for 15 years. In addition to his leadership of the Institute as co-founder and Director for over 30 years, he has made many contributions to planetary science including advancing our knowledge of asteroids and the origin of the Moon.

Dr. John Mason photo

John L. Mason, Ph.D.

Mason received a B.S .degree in Meteorology from the University of Chicago in 1944 and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Caltech in 1950. He currently consults for Applied Research & Technology, a California LLC, on the design of energy-efficient pumps and compressors. He is a fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and was SAE's 1990 president. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. John Mason is a Trustee Emeritus of the Planetary Science Institute.

Past Board Members


Name Joined (Office)
2018 Michael Belton 2015 In Memorium
2018 Candace Kohl 2002 (Vice-Chair 2007-2017)
2017 Joe Alexander 2014
2017 Katy Schmoll 2015
2016 Brent Archinal 2002
2016 Benjamin W. Smith, J.D. 2002 (Secretary 2013-2016)
2015 Pat Simmons 2011
2012 Michael G. Gibbs 2009 (Secretary 2010-2013)
2010 Donald R. Davis * 1996  
2010 John L. Mason 1995 (Secretary 1998-2009)
2010 David H. Levy * 1999 (Vice-Chair 2000-2004, Chair 2005-2007)
2007 Carolyn S. Shoemaker * 2000  
2005 Byron D. Groves 1997 (Chair 1999-2004)
2004 Robert J. Parks 1998 (Treasurer 2000-2004)
2004 Dennis L. Matson * 1995  
2004 Humberto Campins * 2003  
2003 Alex Berman 2000  
2002 Wesley T. Huntress * 2000  
1999 George S. Holditch 1995 (Treasurer 1995-1999)
1998 Michael Berns 1995 (Vice-Chair 1995-1998)
1998 Walter Hansch 1995  
1998 Kip Kinnings 1995 (Secretary 1997, Chair 1998)
1997 Douglas B. Nash * 1995 (Chair 1995-1997)
1997 Eugene M. Shoemaker * 1997  
1996 Michael Udkovich 1995 (Secretary 1995-1996)
* Denotes that this individual has been honored with an asteroid being named after them

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