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Leslie Vittling

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Senior Research Associate

Currently resides in TN
lvittling [at]

Targets: Jupiter, Mars
Disciplines/Techniques: Education/Public Outreach (EPO), Geology, Volcanism
Missions: Juno, Mars 2020, Mars Global Surveyor, MER, MRO, MSL
Mission Roles: Data archive, Data validation, Instrument operations, Mission operations, Science operations
Instruments: Cameras

Research Interests

Initially, Leslie Lipkaman Vittling's primary research interest was active volcanism and the best ways to educate the millions of people that live near volcanoes of the potential hazards. In graduate school, she studied volcanism on Mars and, through the use of images acquired by the Mars Global Surveyor, found a passion for cameras operating at other planets. This has led to a 17+ year career in camera operations working primarily at Mars and Jupiter. Even though her career has veered away from volcanoes, Leslie has an active passion for Education and Public Outreach and has organized many events in coordination with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to inform the public about planetary exploration.

Professional History

Leslie Lipkaman Vittling received her M.S. from the University at Buffalo in planetary volcanism where she studied fractal dimensions of lava flow margins on Tyrrhena Patera using Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data and compared them to multiple Earth analogs. Working at Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) for over 17 years, she was part of the instrument operations teams for the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) and Mars Relay (MR) on the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) from 2003 to 2006, the Context Camera (CTX) and Mars Color Imager (MARCI) cameras on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) from 2006 to 2021, the Mastcam, Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), and Mars Decent Imager (MARDI) on Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) from 2012 to 2021, and Juno's JunoCam from 2015 to present. Leslie has extensive experience archiving data with the Planetary Data System (PDS) across multiple missions. Her main responsibility now is the health, safety, and operation of the JunoCam aboard Juno at Jupiter.

Honors and Awards

Leslie Lipkaman Vittling has received several group awards for her work on various missions, including the NASA Group Achievement Award for MRO MARCI/CTX Science Team (2011), MSL Mastcam, MAHLI, and MARDI Instrument Team (2013), Juno Earth Flyby Operations Team (2014), MSL Prime Mission Science and Operations Team (2015), Juno Jupiter Orbit Insertion Team (2017), Juno Mission Re-Design Team (2018), and JunoCam Imaging and Public Engagement Team (2018). Leslie gave a TEDx Talk entitled "The Sky's the Limit" in 2014 and was interviewed for the Discovery Channel documentary Mission Jupiter.


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