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Dr Carolyn Mercer
Dr. Carolyn Mercer serves as the Chief Technologist for NASA's Science Mission Directorate where she serves as the focal point for the development of innovative new technologies that will enable exciting new capabilities for astrophysics, heliophysics, Earth and planetary science, and fundamental physics and biological experiments.
Prior to joining the Science Mission Directorate's leadership team, Dr. Mercer held several NASA Headquarters positions. She was the founding leader of the Planetary Exploration Science Technology Office where she created innovative approaches to promote technology infusion and created an innovative rideshare program for deep space small spacecraft. She also served as a senior policy analyst for astrophysics.
Dr. Mercer began her career as a research engineer developing optical techniques to measure fluid properties in propulsion facilities at the NASA Glenn Research Center and supervised a highly skilled group of scientists and engineers developing similar technologies. As a project manager she helped develop a broad portfolio of aerospace technologies, including technologies to explore icy moons, advanced scientific instruments, flexible solar arrays, energy storage systems, and adaptive engine technologies.
Dr. Mercer holds two patents in optical instrumentation and has contributed to three books and over sixty technical publications. She has received numerous awards including the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement, NASA Glenn Outstanding Leadership Award, and NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal. She earned her Ph.D. from the Optical Sciences Center at the University of Arizona, and holds a Master’s degree in physics from Cleveland State University and a Bachelor’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the Ohio State University.