Mitchell Gordon
Mitch Gordon

Research Scientist

Disciplines: Solar System Dynamics

Degree/Major: Ph.D., Astronomy, 1995, Queen Mary, University of London

Curriculum vitae: gordon-cv-2014.pdf

mgordon@seti.org
Biography

Planetary scientist Dr. Mitch Gordon joined the SETI Institute as a principal investigator in 2005. While his research interests focus on planetary ring systems and the resonant interactions between rings and the attendant natural satellites, the bulk of his time is spent preserving the vast treasures of planetary data returned by NASA’s spacecraft.

Dr. Gordon is the deputy manager of the Planetary Rings Node of the NASA Planetary Data System (PDS) Currently the Rings Node is responsible for the preservation and distribution almost 4 Terabytes of outer planets data.

In 2009, a five member working group was formed within PDS to analyze the then current data system used by PDS and to recommend a way forward. Dr. Gordon was one of the five. The group’s analysis resulted in a major project to redesign the PDS data system from the ground up moving to a new paradigm for data documentation, storage, retrieval, and distribution. That same five member team produced the new design using Information Modeling techniques. Once the overall design and skeletal structure were in place, the working group was expanded to include members from each PDS Node, but the initial five core members remain at the center of the ongoing project.

His current focus with in the project is as a co-lead of the team developing an information for geometry metadata, which includes, for example, attributes of the lighting and viewing angles of observations, position and velocity vectors of a spacecraft relative to Sun and observing body at the time of observation and the location and orientation of an observation on the target. The PDS geometry model is based on requirements gathered from the planetary research community, data producers, and software engineers who build search tools. A key constraint for the model is that PDS archives a wide range of data types from missions and instruments observing many types of solar system bodies such as planets, ring systems, and smaller bodies (moons, comets, and asteroids). Thus, important design aspects of the geometry model are that it standardizes the definition of the geometry attributes and provides consistency of geometry metadata across planetary science disciplines. The model specification also includes parameters so that the context of values can be unambiguously interpreted. For example, the reference frame used for specifying geographic locations on a planetary body is explicitly included with the other geometry metadata parameters. The structure and content of the new PDS geometry model is designed to enable both science analysis and efficient development of search tools. The initial version of the geometry model is focused on geometry for remote sensing observations conducted by flyby and orbiting spacecraft. Future releases of the PDS geometry model will be expanded to include metadata for landed and rover spacecraft.

Publications

1. Planetary Rings”, by M.K. Gordon, S. Araki, G.I., Black, and 37 coauthors. In The Future of Solar System Exploration, 2003-2013, ASP Conference Proceedings, Vol. 272, M. Sykes, Ed., ASP, 2002.

2. “Perturbations to Saturn’s F-ring strands at their closest approach to Prometheus” by S.M. Giuliatti Winter, C.D. Murray and M.K. Gordon. Planetary & Space Science 48, 817, 2000.

3. “Unraveling the Strands of Saturn’s F ring” by C.D. Murray, M.K. Gordon and S.M. Giuliatti Winter. Icarus 129, 304, 1997.

4. “A study of Hilda asteroids.  II. Compositional implications from optical spectroscopy” by M. Dahlgren, C.-I. Lagerkvist, A. Fitzsimmons, I. P. Williams, and M. Gordon.  Astron. Astrophys. 323, 606, 1997.

5. “Further evidence for the existence of additional small satellites of Saturn” by M.K. Gordon, C.D. Murray and K. Beurle. Icarus 121, 114, 1996.

6. “Material in tadpole and horseshoe orbits in the Saturnian system” by C.D. Murray and M.K. Gordon.  Report to the Cassini Ring Hazard Workshop, NASA Ames, January 1996.

7. “Possible satellites of Saturn” by M.K. Gordon, C.D. Murray and K. Beurle.  IAU Circular 6162, Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 14 April 1995.

8. “Report on ring compression studies using MATRA chip simulator” by C.D. Murray, K. Beurle, and M.K. Gordon.  Report to the Flight Data Systems and Calibration Working Group of the Cassini Imaging Team, April 1994.

Abstracts of conference contributions

1. A.C. Raugh, LaMora, A.; Erickson, K.; Gordon, M.; Grayzeck, E. J.; Morgan, T. H.; Showalter, M.; Knopf, W, “PDS and NASA Tournament Laboratory Progress in Engaging Developers to Provide New Access to the Nation's Planetary Data”. Bull. Amer. Astron. Soc. 45, #117.04, 2013.

2. M.K. Gordon, M.R. Showalter, B. Wells, L. Ballard, N. Heather, “Enhanced Geometric Metadata for Cassini Optical Remote Sensing Instruments”, Bull. Amer. Astron. Soc. 44, 414.12, 2012.

3. L.D.V. Neakrase,..., M.K. Gordon plus 7 coauthors, “The PDS4 Archive: New Structure, New Possibilities”, Third International Planetary Dunes Workshop: Remote Sensing and Data Analysis of Planetary Dunes. LPI Contribution No. 1673., p.71-72, 2012.

4. L.D.V. Neakrase,..., M.K. Gordon plus 7 coauthors, “Data Migration Strategies: Preparing for the Move to PDS4”. 43rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, held March 19-23, 2012 at The Woodlands, Texas. LPI Contribution No. 1659, id.2557, 2012.

5. S.J. Hughes, A. Raugh, M. Gordon, plus 7 other authors, “The Next Generation PDS Archive Data Standards”, PV 2009 conference: Ensuring Long-Term Preservation and Adding Value to Scientific and Technical Data. European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) ESA, Madrid, Spain, 2009.

6. M.K. Gordon, L. Ballard, M.R. Showalter, N. Heather, “Outer Planets, Multi-Mission Data Search at the PDS Rings Node”, Bull. Amer. Astron. Soc. 41, 18.10, 2009.

7. M.K. Gordon, J. Cuzzi, J. J. Lissauer, and 36 coauthors. “Decadal Survey: Planetary Rings Panel”, Bull. Amer. Astron. Soc. 33, 1057, 2001

8. R. Kirk, and 29 coauthors, “Mapping the Sagan Memorial Station Site with the IMP Camera”. 29th Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, abstract # 1752, 1998.

9. L. Gaddis, and 27 coauthors, “The Mars Pathfinder Super Pan: A U.S.G.S. Cartographic Product” 29th Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, abstract # 1831, 1998.

10. L.A. Soderblom, and 25 coauthors, “The Mars Pathfinder Super Pan: U.S. Geological Survey Processing and Analysis”. Eos, Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union 78 #46, F404, 1997.

11. ” S.M. Giuliatti Winter, C.D. Murray and M.K. Gordon. “F ring strands at closest approach with PrometheusPresented to the Rio de Janeiro International workshop on planetary sciences, November 1997.

12. M.K. Gordon, C.D. Murray and S.M. Giuliatti Winter, “F ring model from analysis of the ring’s radial structure” Presented to the Wellesley Workshop on observations of the Saturn system from the 1995-1996 ring plane crossings, July 1997.

13. M.K. Gordon, S.M. Larson, C.D. Murray, D.H.P. Jones, S.C. Greaves, and O. Munoz, “WHT observations of the Saturn system, 2 & 3 August 1995” Presented to the Wellesley Workshop on observations of the Saturn system from the 1995-1996 ring plane crossings, July 1997.

14. M. Dahlgren, C.-I. Lagerkvist, A. Fitzsimmons, I.P. Williams, and M. Gordon, “Composition of the Hilda asteroids”. Comets, Asteroids, Meteors, 1996.

15. M.K. Gordon and C.D. Murray, “Analysis of the radial structure of Saturn’s F-ring”. Bull. Amer. Astron. Soc. 28, 1125, 1996.

16. S. Larson, C.D. Murray, D.H.P. Jones, M.K. Gordon, S.C. Greaves, and O. Munoz, “Color of the Saturn E ring”. Bull. Amer. Astron. Soc. 27, 1132, 1995.

17. M.K. Gordon, S.C. Greaves, D.H.P. Jones, C.D. Murray, S. Larson and O. Munoz, “CCD Imaging of the Saturn system immediately prior to the August ring plane crossing”. Bull. Amer. Astron. Soc. 27, 1132, 1995.

18. M.K. Gordon and C.D. Murray, “Possible detection of additional small satellites of Saturn in Voyager images. Presented to the monthly meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1995.

19. M.K. Gordon and C.D. Murray, “Possible detection of additional small satellites of Saturn in Voyager images”. Bull. Amer. Astron. Soc. 26, 1160, 1994