Michael Busch

Michael Busch
Research Scientist
PhD Planetary Science, Caltech 2010
Curriculum Vitae: 
Remote Sensing / Planetary Astronomy

I primarily study near-Earth asteroids, using radio and radar techniques.  I have particular interests in the shapes, spin states, internal structures, and histories of individual objects - especially spacecraft mission targets and potential Earth impactors. 

One object I've worked on, 4179 Toutatis, was the target of a flyby by the Chinese Chang'e 2 spacecraft in late 2012.  Another, 2008 EV5, is proposed as the destination for ESA's Marco Polo R asteroid sample return mission.  Longer term, other radar targets may be destinations for human missions, either on their current orbits or brought back to Earth-Moon space as part of NASA's Asteroid Initative.

When doing radar observations, I transmit using the planetary radars at Arecibo Observatory and NASA's Deep Space Network Goldstone facility and receive with either those or with a number of other radio telescopes.   I collaborate with scientists at Arecibo, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, at UCLA, at the University of Maine, and at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.  I also work with an extensive community of optical and infrared asteroid observers, and with a number of aerospace engineers - most particularly, Dan Scheeres' group at the University of Colorado Boulder.

I also have side projects on martian dust storms and on SETI message design.  The latter focuses on the currently-theoretical question of making a message readily intelligible to any alien astronomers who may see it.



I received my BS in physics and astronomy at the University of Minnesota in 2005.  I went to Caltech for grad school, where I had the fortune to be advised by the late Steve Ostro and by Shri Kulkarni, and to have a graduate fellowship through the Hertz Foundation.  I completed my PhD in planetary science in 2010, and did postdocs at UCLA and at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory - under the Jansky Fellows program - before starting as a research scientist at SETI in September 2013.

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